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natural gas

natural gas, natural mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons found issuing from the ground or obtained from specially driven wells. The composition of natural gas varies in different localities. Its chief component, methane, usually makes up from 80% to 95%, and the balance is composed of varying amounts of ethane, propane, butane, and other hydrocarbon compounds. Some of the hydrocarbons found in gasoline also occur as vapors in natural gas; by liquefying these hydrocarbons, gasoline can be obtained.

Although commonly associated with petroleum deposits it also occurs separately in sand, sandstone, limestone, and shale deposits. Some geologists theorize that natural gas is a byproduct of decaying vegetable matter in underground strata, while others think it may be primordial gases that rise up from the mantle. Because of its flammability and high calorific value, natural gas is used extensively as an illuminant and a fuel.

Natural gas was known to the ancients but was considered by them to be a supernatural phenomenon because, noticed only when ignited, it appeared as a mysterious fire bursting from the ground. One of the earliest attempts to harness it for economic use occurred in the early 19th cent. in Fredonia, N.Y. Toward the latter part of the 19th cent., large industrial cities began to make use of natural gas, and extensive pipeline systems have been constructed to transport gas. Since the late 20th cent., improvements in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”—in which pressurized fluids are injected into a well to induce rock fractures that allow the release of natural gas—and its use in combination with horizontal drilling has permitted natural gas to extracted from previously untappable deposits of shale.

Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, is natural gas that has been pressurized and cooled so as to liquefy it for convenience in shipping and storage. The boiling point of natural gas is extremely low, and only in the 1970s did cryogenic technology (see low-temperature physics) advance enough to make the production and transport of LNG commerically feasible. Some of the natural gas moved to and from the United States is carried as LNG in special tankers.

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McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. Material which covers any interior surface, such as framework around a door or window, or boarding which covers the interior surfaces of a building.
2. Same as flue lining.

liquified natural gas (LNG)

A product of natural gas essentially consisting of methanes; stored under pressure to maintain its liquid state; used as a fuel for heating and cooking.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Last year, SNGPL had asked PLL to cancel a cargo but after one week it again approached PLL for LNG import.
He said Jacksonville is a good place for an LNG terminal because there are pipelines in the vicinity delivering the quantities of gas needed for a liquefaction facility.
The second phase includes an additional 200,000-cubic-meter LNG storage tank, increasing its sendout capacity up to 7 MTPA; two additional LNG truck loading bays and an LNG carrier reloading system.
The cost of each new LNG vessel would be around $200 million and the shipyards will be vying with each other to get the orders from Qatar, which are estimated to be around $12 billion.
Department of Energy issued Port Arthur LNG's authorization to export domestically produced natural gas to countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the U.S.
However, the PQA has also told the Japanese investor that the port is going to undertake 'Technical Study' to identify 'LNG Zone' within port limits for establishment of all prospective LNG terminals.
Last year, Pakistan imported nearly seven tonnes of LNG, data from Refinitiv Eikon showed.
Officials also informed that all future LNG terminals shall be contracted without any guaranteed payment by the government on BOT basis and in order to ensure security of supply of LNG, all future LNG terminal projects to involve training of local Pakistani staff for terminal and FSU/FSRU operations.
Phoenix Petroleum said the LNG terminal would help support the demand for a clean and reliable energy source in Luzon and contribute to the sustainable development of the Philippine economy.
An unprecedented wave of new projects becoming operational in 2016-2019 has not resulted in, and is unlikely to result in a material surplus in the LNG market in the medium term.
"The number of LNG importing countries has increased from 13 in 2003 to 40 in 2018.
The global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market has continued to defy expectations of many market observers, with demand growing by 29 million tonnes to 293 million tonnes in 2017, according to Shell's annual LNG Outlook.