Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 53

natural gas - Storage and transport, Natural gas crisis, Uses, Sources, Safety

petroleum hydrocarbons

Gas which occurs in subterranean accumulations, often in association with petroleum deposits. It mainly consists of simple hydrocarbons, mostly methane, with some propane; there may also be nitrogen, helium, and hydrogen sulphide. ‘Wet gas’ has recoverable amounts of higher hydrocarbons (eg butane, pentane) which have commercial value as Liquefied Petroleum Gas. Natural gas is one of the most widely used and versatile of fuels, and a source of other chemicals. When used as a gas supply, it is adulterated with other gases to give it an odour. Natural gas was used by the Chinese as early as the 2nd-c AD.

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