Natural gas

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Natural gas is a gas consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0-20% higher hydrocarbons[1] (primarily ethane). It is found associated with other fossil fuels, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.

Most natural gas is created by two mechanisms: biogenic and thermogenic. Biogenic gas is created by methanogenic organisms in marshes, bogs, landfills, and shallow sediments. Deeper in the earth, at greater temperature and pressure, thermogenic gas is created from buried organic material.[2]

Before natural gas can be used as a fuel, it must undergo processing to remove almost all materials other than methane. The by-products of that processing include ethane, propane, butanes, pentanes, and higher molecular weight hydrocarbons, elemental sulfur, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and sometimes helium and nitrogen.

Natural gas is often informally referred to as simply gas, especially when compared to other energy sources such as oil or coal.

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