The Role of Natural Gas in Reducing Coal Dependence

Of all the fossil fuels, coal is by and large the most easily accessible and also most sharply criticized. Coal is known for producing copious quantities of noxious fumes and greenhouse gases. The continued use of coal in power generation across the world remains one of the major stumbling blocks in achieving key goals in air pollution.

 

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And coal’s effects are evident in daily life. Old industrial cities in the 19th century were known to be shrouded in thick layers of smog and soot. Even today, working in close proximity to power plants that run on coal is a known health hazard, contributing to a whole array of respiratory diseases.

It would be strange, then, for the primary contender for replacing this most noxious of polluters would be another fossil fuel source. To the surprise of some, natural gas holds the key to ending coal dependence. Natural gas produces the least amount of greenhouse gas emissions among the fossil fuels, and developments have made natural gas a more readily available and economic fuel source.

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image source: houstonchronicle.com

The growing volume of natural gas plants has already made a visible impact toward greater sustainability, thus making possible a wide-scale decommissioning of coal-fired power plants in recent years. Already, an unprecedented number of coal plant closures has significantly contributed to meeting and exceeding emission reduction goals set out in the Waxman-Markey legislation. Meanwhile, watchdog organizations like the Sierra Club remain optimistic that further reductions can be achieved, provided the continuation of current trends.

Brian Alfaro helms Primera Energy, LLC, a Texas-based energy company dedicated to innovative and environmentally sound methods of petroleum and natural gas exploration and extraction. Visit this blog for more updates on the energy industry.

Earthly Origins: How Is Crude Oil Produced?

Petroleum is used to power homes, cars, and businesses; but where did it come from?

Image source: faceofmalawi.com

Image source: faceofmalawi.com

Natural gas and oil make up petroleum. The word petroleum means “rock oil” in Latin. Petroleum is a fossil fuel made naturally from (prehistoric) decaying plants and animal remains. Petroleum is a mixture of different molecules, including hydrogen and carbon that exist as liquid or vapor. It can be found in offshore wells, deep seas, and caves.

Petroleum is generated over millions of years. For petroleum generation or production to occur, organic matter like dead plants or animals must accumulate in large numbers. This organic matter will then be deposited along with sediments (rocks). Sediments and organic material that are now formed as source rocks will be buried in the absence of oxygen. Without oxygen, the organic material in the source rock will be transformed into petroleum. Source rocks like shale or limestone are an excellent source of petroleum.

Natural gas is found next to or near petroleum. The oil is then transported for fuel distillery. There are technologies used to liquefy natural gas so it can be transported in tanks. There are more than 100 countries that produce both oil and natural gas. Technologies that help find sources of petroleum are now advanced. There are still oil and gas reserves to be discovered—in deeper basins and remote areas.

Primera Energy LLC is headed by Brian Alfaro. The company operates on the Eagle Ford Shale in Southern Texas. For more petroleum news and facts, follow this Twitter account.