Natural gas is one of the most used and useful energy sources; people use it in transportation, industry, as well as for commercial and residential purposes. Oil is what mainly makes petroleum products, such as gasoline and propane, and they are very popular themselves; that is why it is safe to say that oil and gas are the most commonly used energy sources.
Natural gas is a colorless, shapeless and odorless gas. It has been around for tens of millions of years, but only in recent history have people begun to bring it to the surface and use it in different ways; Britain is the first country to use natural gas extensively, around 1780.
Oil is a viscous substance that burns in air, generating heat that can then undergo transformation into different forms of energy. Oil, or fuel oil, is the term we generally use to describe a whole range of burnable liquids made from crude oil. Crude oil is the raw substance extracted from below the earth surface.
Oil and gas, together with coal, can enter the category of fossil fuel, as they are the remains of microorganisms, animals and plants that lived some million years ago. It takes a lot of time for fossil fuel formation, during which high pressure compresses the organic matter.
As animals and plants die, sediment, debris and mud cover the organic matter. In time, all this sediment and debris place a lot of pressure on the organic matter, and, in this manner, compression takes place. High temperatures from deep below the earth surface combined with the compression break down the carbon bonds found in the organic matter. Although there are some differences, the formation of both oil and gas takes place through this fundamental process.
Nevertheless, the formation of oil and gas occurs at different depths. The generation of oil takes place at lower temperatures – that means the deposits are shallower than gas ones. As opposed to that, the formation of natural gas occurs at higher temperatures – this means that people will extract it from greater depths below the earth surface. That is why deposits of both oil and gas are accessible only as deep as 2 miles below the earth surface. The deposits found deeper only contain natural gas, or, more commonly, pure methane. After extracting such fossil fuels, providers and consumers find them useful in producing electricity, in cooking, in powering cars and other machines, and so on. Such employment is possible because, when burned, fossil fuels will release energy in the form of heat.
There are many products derived from both natural gas and oil. Nowadays, we use oil and gas on a regular, daily basis, for practical purposes ranging from heating our homes and fueling our cars and planes to producing all kinds of plastics or medicine. Nevertheless, although these products make our lives much easier, their production and usage can cause serious environmental issues. As well as that, natural gas and oil are limited resources – we will ultimately run out of them. These are the two main reasons why researchers and businesspersons need to invest lots of money and energy into the development of alternatives to these fossil fuels. Nevertheless, the main advantages of fossil fuels lie in the fact that they remain relatively inexpensive, that the combustion process they undergo is uncomplicated and that it is relatively easy to transport them, insofar as such an operation is in the hands of experienced professionals.