We may not think of the people who power the things we use every day, like the ones that turn on the stove or the washing machine, or the water heater to ensure the right temperature. Although electricity may seem like the star of the show to many homeowners, natural gas keeps the lights on and the fires going for many.
A Quick Overview of the Industry
Refined, it burns cleanly and is mined from ground via a process called “fracking.” The rock layers within the earth are broken down to extract the gas.
According to the Natural Gas Caucus in the United States, nearly a quarter (25%) of all electricity and power vehicles are powered by natural gas. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), natural gas is responsible for about 22 percent of all global energy consumption.
Canada Natural Gas is a versatile power resource that produces less carbon than other fuels.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company says that about half of all natural gas consumed annually is used by Russia and the United States.
Top Exporters and Importers
This fuel is exported worldwide every year in excess of seven hundred billion cubic meter. The World Factbook currently lists these countries among the top exporters:
Russia – Russia has the largest world-wide reserves. A good proportion of their output is sent overseas to provide heat and power to Europe.
Canada – The United States is Canada’s largest customer in terms of this resource. Most US natural gas imports come directly from the US’s northern neighbors.
Norway – Norway’s key partners in this trade include France, Germany, France, and Belgium. According to the Norweigan Petroleum Directorate (Norweigan Petroleum Directorate), sales have more that doubled in the last 20 years.
Algeria – Algeria exports almost entirely petroleum and gaz. Canada, Spain, and the United States are among their top trading partners.
Qatar – The majority of Qatar’s revenues come from the sale of gas from their reserves. Japan and Korea are among their top trading partners.
According to the CIA World Factbook the United States is the largest importer of this resource. Japan, France, Germany and Japan are listed. They take in more than 475 billion cubic metres annually.
While this fuel is considered cleaner burning than most other resources, environmentalists fear that the method used to extract it – fracking — may do more harm in the future. Cornell University researchers suggested that methane released by fracking could contribute to global warming in the coming twenty years. Some even blamed earthquakes and pollution for this activity. In recent months, protests against the practice have grown. Experts from the natural gas industry deny that extraction is threatening the earth.
It is possible that the percentage of natural gas extraction will increase as more states and countries allow it. Natural gas can be used to power plants and homes, as well as some vehicles and automobiles that run on it. The chances of this resource becoming an exportable resource increase with the increasing variety of uses.