Like coal and oil, natural gas is a fossil fuel. Fossil fuels (which we burn to power transportation, heating & cooling, and electricity) are non-renewable sources of energy formed in the earth over the past millions of years, typically from the remains of marine microorganisms and plants. Sealed off from oxygen and put under ever-increasing amounts of heat and pressure, this organic matter undergoes a thermal breakdown process that ultimately converts it to hydrocarbons.

The lightest of these hydrocarbons occur in a gaseous state known collectively as “natural gas,” which in its pure form is a colorless, odorless gas composed primarily of methane.

Natural gas currently supplies nearly 1/3 of the United States’ primary energy and is the primary heating fuel for approximately half of U.S. households.

Natural gas is a growing energy source — generating less carbon dioxide than coal when burned and cheaper than other fossil fuels.

It has been seen by many as playing a strategic role in the clean energy transition — a means to reduce both local air pollution and coal-associated carbon emissions, a means of quick-ramping dispatchable and reliable power, a plentiful, economically-attractive fuel. However, concerns about methane emissions and the overall carbon budget have called into question the future for gas.




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Natural Gas

Natural gas is a vital component of the world’s supply of energy. It is one of the cleanest, safest, and most useful of all energy sources. Despite its importance, however, there are many misconceptions about…

Natural Gas

Natural gas is an abundant resource across the United States, and new discoveries and extraction methods have led to a dramatic rise in shale gas development -- making America the world’s leading natural gas producer.

What You Need To Know About Energy: Natural Gas

Natural gas provides 29% of our energy and is used to heat about half the homes in the United States. It is also a raw material in a variety of common products, such as paints, fertilizers,…

Natural gas explained

Where our natural gas comes from


The Era of Cheap Natural Gas Ends as Prices Surge by 1,000%

By Anna Shiryaevskaya   08/06/21  
The era of cheap natural gas is over, giving way to an age of far more costly energy that will create ripple effects across the global economy.Natural gas, used to generate electricity and heat homes,…

Colonial Pipeline could face enormous daily fine after massive NC fuel leak, feds say

By Joe Marusak   07/09/21  
Colonial Pipeline Co. could face daily fines of up to $200,000 per violation if it fails to improve the way it detects leaks in its U.S. pipeline system, after a massive gasoline leak in Huntersville,…

Ocean fire exposes weak regulation of Mexico’s oil and gas sector

By Isabelle Gerretsen  Photo: Liam Young   07/07/21  
Pemex said a lightning storm ignited a gas leak from an underwater pipeline. “There was no oil spill and the immediate action taken to control the surface fire avoided environmental damage,” the company said in…

Far From Texas, Huge Gas Bills Stoke Anger After February Freeze

By Christopher M. Matthews   06/27/21  
An angry backlash is building across the middle of the U.S. as states step in to help their constituents pay billions of dollars in natural-gas bills racked up during February’s freeze. While most escaped the…

BP is planning to drill for fossil gas on edge of world’s largest cold-water coral reef

By Daisy Dunne   06/21/21  
BP is planning to drill for fossil gas on the edge of the world’s largest cold-water coral reef – raising the risk of biodiversity loss, further global heating and toxic fuel spills.

Washington Climate Activists Celebrate Victory Over Massive Fracked Gas Refinery

In a stunning climate victory, Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW), backers of a controversial fossil fuel processing and export proposal in Kalama, Wash., officially abandoned its fracked gas refinery and pipeline proposal, terminating the company’s lease…

Battle Brews Over Banning Natural Gas to Homes

By Katherine Blunt   05/31/21  
A growing fight is unfolding across the U.S. as cities consider phasing out natural gas for home cooking and heating, citing concerns about climate change, and states push back against these bans. Major cities including…

Natural Gas, America’s No. 1 Power Source, Already Has a New Challenger: Batteries

By Katherine Blunt   05/16/21  
Vistra Corp. owns 36 natural-gas power plants, one of America’s largest fleets. It doesn’t plan to buy or build any more. Instead, Vistra intends to invest more than $1 billion in solar farms and battery…

Cutting methane emissions is quickest way to slow global heating – UN report

By Damian Carrington  Photo: Jim West/Alamy   05/06/21  
Fossil fuels, cattle and rotting waste produce greenhouse gas responsible for 30% of global heating

Gas Cooking Poses an Asthma Risk to Children Comparable to Secondhand Smoke

By Kate Evans   05/06/21  
We’ve all heard the dangers of passive smoking — especially around children — but it’s unlikely that you’ve heard about the dangers of cooking with gas. Specifically, the impact that cooking with gas can have…

Senate votes to restore Obama-era limits on methane gas emissions

By Brady Dennis  Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP   04/28/21  
The measure still must pass the House before being sent to the president’s desk. It marks Democrats’ first use of the 1996 Congressional Review Act.

Swift action to cut methane emissions could slow Earth’s warming by 30 percent, study finds

By Brady Dennis and Steven Mufson  Charles Rex Arbogast/AP   04/27/21  
The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, calculated that a full-scale push using existing technologies could cut methane emissions in half by 2030. Such reductions could have a crucial impact in the global effort to…

Halting the Vast Release of Methane Is Critical for Climate, U.N. Says

By Hiroko Tabuchi  Photo: James Smith/Alamy   04/23/21  
A major United Nations report will declare that slashing emissions of methane, the main component of natural gas, is far more vital than previously thought.

California enlists surveillance satellites to sniff out greenhouse gas ‘super-emitters’

By Tony Barboza   04/15/21  
Years after former Gov. Jerry Brown pledged California would launch its “own damn satellite” to track planet-warming pollutants, the state plans to put not one, but two satellites in orbit to help it hunt for…

Methane Emissions Spiked in 2020. Scientists Fear Feedback Loops

By Nick Cunningham  Photo by Justin Hamel   04/12/21  
Preliminary data shows that methane emissions jumped in 2020 by the largest amount since systematic record-keeping began decades ago. And despite a dip in polluting activities due to the pandemic, concentration of carbon dioxide in…

Create Jobs for Oil/Gas Workers, Plugging Oil and Gas Wells

By Peter Sinclair   04/05/21  
Across the country there are hundreds of thousands of abandoned or “orphan” frack wells. There are also, tens of thousands of unemployed oil and gas workers. Putting them to work, plugging old, leaking, toxic and…

Drillers Burned Off Gas at a Staggering Rate as Winter Storm Hit Texas

By Hiroko Tabuchi  Photo by Jessica Lutz   03/26/21  
As Texas was crippled last month by frigid temperatures that killed more than 100 people and triggered widespread blackouts, drilling companies in the state’s largest oil field were forced to burn off an extraordinary amount…

Ad Agencies Step Away From Oil and Gas in Echo of Cigarette Exodus

By Tiffany Hsu   03/25/21  
It’s night. A little boy opens the door to his father’s room. “Dad, I’m scared,” he says. The father carries the boy back to his bed, tucks him in and clicks on a night light.…

Frozen Gas Lines, Not Wind Turbines, Behind Texas Power Woes

By Renee Jiang   03/19/21  
As Winter Storm Uri wreaked havoc on the American Midwest this past February with bitter cold snow, entire power grids shut down and states like Texas faced a crisis like never before. Conservative politicians put…

The battle over climate change is boiling over on the home front

By Steven Mufson  Photo: Barbara Sax/AFP/Getty Images   02/23/21  
Municipalities want new buildings to go all electric, spurning gas-fired stoves and heating systems. The gas industry disagrees

Seattle bans natural gas in new buildings

By John Ryan   02/02/21  
The city of Seattle has banned most uses of fossil fuels in new buildings. The ban on appliances like gas furnaces and gas water heaters in new construction is part of a revised energy code…

Yale study on the term natural gas

By Anthony Leiserowitz   01/26/21  
Recently, we released results from an experiment in which we investigated how Republicans and Democrats respond to the terms “natural gas,” “natural methane gas,” “methane,” and “methane gas.” We found that both Democrats and Republicans…

Oil And Gas Industry Must Get Serious About Climate Change To Compete For Millennial And Gen Z Workforce

By Emily Pickrell  Photo: Getty Images   01/12/21  
While the younger generations are eager to see climate change and carbon management addressed, they are more reluctant to accept jobs where their talent and enthusiasm is most needed to address it – in the…

The Top Energy Stories Of 2020

by Robert Rapier  Illustration: Digital Montage   12/27/20  
Some years there is an energy story so big that there’s no question it belongs at the top of the list. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. …

Connecticut power plant proposal at odds with climate goals, critics say

By Lisa Prevost  Photo by Ron Gilbert   12/18/20  
As Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s climate council finalizes recommendations for how the state can meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals, state agencies are simultaneously overseeing final approvals for a new natural gas-fired power plant.

Health and environmental experts are coming for your gas stove

By Hannah Sparks   10/29/20  
But natural gas combustion isn’t just bad for Earth’s atmosphere. Researchers at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit advocacy organization for sustainability, have revealed that toxins, such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, are collecting inside…

Study links fracking to airborne radioactive particles

By Dan Haugen   10/14/20  
A new study by Harvard scientists finds a significant increase in airborne radioactive particles downwind of fracking sites, with some of the biggest increases found in West Virginia.

New Study Casts Doubt On The Climate Benefits Of Natural Gas Power Plants

By Alexander C. Kaufman   10/09/20  
The emissions and methane leaks from new gas plants zero out the CO2 cuts achieved from closing coal plants, a peer-reviewed analysis found.

After promising a shift from fossil fuels, Omaha utility plans more gas plants

By Karen Uhlenhuth   10/08/20  
Nebraska’s second-largest utility last fall embarked on an initiative, dubbed Power with Purpose, that company leaders say will hasten the utility’s shift away from fossil fuels. However, fast-moving plans to develop two new natural gas…

Southern Company Net-Zero Implementation Plan Filled with Loopholes for Continued Use of Fossil Fuels

By Daniel Tate   09/24/20  
Southern Company released more information this week on how it plans to reach “net zero emissions,” and while the plan remains scant on key details, the company has made one thing clear: it is leaning into the…

Can Gas-Fired Power Plants Coexist With a Net-Zero Target? Yes, Southern Company Insists

By Jeff St. John   09/23/20  
Like many other utilities with similar decarbonization goals, Southern Company doesn’t yet see a clear path to eliminating natural-gas-fired power plants “unless and until technology emerges that can affordably and efficiently replace it,” CEO Tom Fanning said…

Big changes may be ahead for natural gas pipelines, if FERC does its job

By Jessica Bell   09/16/20  
The day of reckoning for new natural gas infrastructure is long overdue. As states and consumers turn towards cleaner sources of energy, we must ask what the place is for new pipelines.

Trump finalizes drilling plan for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

By Juliet Eilperin   08/17/20  
Plan clears the way for an oil and gas lease auction on the refuge’s 1.6 million-acre coastal plain by December 2021.

The Trump administration’s disastrous policy shift on methane emissions

By Editorial Board   08/14/20  
PRESIDENT TRUMP’S daily affronts to decency make it hard to focus attention on the substantive damage his administration is causing. But on Thursday, the administration announced a disastrous policy shift regarding methane emissions. The Obama…

Trump administration scraps limits on methane leaks at oil and gas sites

By Steven Mufson  Photo by Keith Srakocic   08/14/20  
The Trump administration is scrapping limits on methane leaks, allowing oil and gas companies to decide how much of the potent greenhouse gas can escape into the atmosphere from wells, pipelines and storage tanks.

Trump Eliminates Major Methane Rule, Even as Leaks Are Worsening

By Coral Davenport  Photo: Jessica Lutz for The New York Times   08/13/20  
The Trump administration formally weakened a major climate-change regulation on Thursday — effectively freeing oil and gas companies from the need to detect and repair methane leaks — even as new research shows that far…

E.P.A. to Lift Obama-Era Controls on Methane, a Potent Greenhouse Gas

By Coral Davenport   08/10/20  
The reversal is the latest move in the Trump administration’s ongoing effort to weaken environmental rules, but it could be quickly undone after the November election.

California greenlights ‘Orwellian’ solar-powered fracking scheme

By Steve Horn   08/06/20  
California-based multinational oil company Chevron landed two rounds of drilling permits from Gov. Gavin Newsom this summer—evidence, climate advocates say, that Newsom is not committed to tackling the climate crisis.

2 Million Wells Leak Methane, Causing Warming

By John Englander   07/13/20  
Methane also enters the atmosphere directly, particularly as the planet warms. As in the second image above there is now a vast string of gigantic craters across Siberia where methane from the thawing permafrost has…

The next energy battle: Renewables vs. natural gas

By Ivan Penn  Photo: Ting Shen for The New York Times   07/07/20  
As coal declines and wind and solar energy rise, some are pushing to limit the use of natural gas, but utilities say they are not ready to do so.

Dominion Energy and Duke Energy cancel the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

Dominion Energy (NYSE: D) and Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) today announced the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (“ACP”) due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty which threaten the economic viability of the project.

Fracking Giant Chesapeake Energy Files for Bankruptcy

By Eoin Higgins   07/01/20  
By Eoin Higgins Climate advocates pointed to news Sunday that fracking giant Chesapeake Energy was filing for bankruptcy as further evidence that the fossil fuel industry's collapse is being hastened by the coronavirus pandemic and…

Satellites reveal major new gas industry methane leaksS

By Shadia Nasralla  Photo by Reuters   06/26/20  
The find, which has not been reported, is part of a growing effort by companies, academics and some energy producers to use space-age technology to find the biggest methane leaks as the potent heat-trapping gas…

Special Report: Millions of abandoned oil wells are leaking methane, a climate menace

By Nichola Groom  Photo by Brian Woolston   06/17/20  
In May 2012, Hanson and Michael Rowe noticed an overpowering smell, like rotten eggs, seeping from an abandoned gas well on their land in Kentucky. The fumes made the retired couple feel nauseous, dizzy, and…

Air pollution from fracking killed an estimated 20 people in Pennsylvania from 2010-2017: Study

By Kristina Marusic  Photo: Kristina Marusic/EHN   06/05/20  
Particulate matter pollution emitted by Pennsylvania's fracking wells killed about 20 people between 2010 and 2017, according to a soon-to-be-published study.Pennsylvania is the second-largest producer of natural gas in the U.S. after Texas. Between 2010…

The Williams fracked gas pipeline in New York has been stopped!

By Richard Brooks  Photo: Erik McGregor   05/15/20  
We did it!  Another pipeline has just been defeated, thanks to people power. After years of campaigning, the New York State Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC) announced their denial with prejudice of the key water…

Natural Gas Exports Slow as Pandemic Reduces Global Demand

By Clifford Krauss  Photo: Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times   05/11/20  
Businesses in the United States, Israel and other countries were planning to invest billions in export terminals. Now, those projects are being canceled or delayed.

Berkeley became first US city to ban natural gas. Here’s what that may mean for the future

Photo by Alamy Stock Photo   05/09/20  
Although Berkeley may be pushing the vanguard, the city is hardly alone. Governments across the US and Europe are looking at strategies to phase out gas. In California alone, dozens of cities and counties are…

Methane Emissions Hit a New Record and Scientists Can’t Say Why

By Eric Roston and Naureen S Malik  Photo by Angus Mordant   04/07/20  
Airborne methane levels rose markedly last year, according to a preliminary estimate published today by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The results show a dramatic leap in concentration of the second most-powerful greenhouse gas, which is…

New 3D View of Methane Tracks Sources and Movement around the Globe

By Ellen Gray  Photo: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio   03/23/20  
NASA’s new 3-dimensional portrait of methane concentrations shows the world’s second largest contributor to greenhouse warming, the diversity of sources on the ground, and the behavior of the gas as it moves through the atmosphere.…