Gas

GAS

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.

What is natural gas?

CURRENT NEWS

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Highlight Article

The Surprising Force Stalling Climate Progress: California Restaurants

By Ben Elgin 05/13/24
In the fight to ratchet down climate emissions and soothe the most dangerous effects of an overheating planet, one of the most withering setbacks in recent memory wasn’t delivered by the oil industry or coal…
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16 States Sue Biden Administration Over Gas Permit Pause

By Lisa Friedman 03/21/24
Louisiana and 15 other Republican-led states sued the Biden administration on Thursday over its decision to temporarily stop approving new permits for facilities that export liquefied natural gas.
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National Grid announces $4B plan to upgrade upstate New York power grid

By Patrick Cooley 03/21/24
National Grid, which serves Massachusetts and New York State, said Wednesday it is investing $4 billion to upgrade upstate New York’s power grid.
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Gas Industry Blocks Building Codes Meant To Make Going Electric Cheaper

By Alexander C. Kaufman 03/21/24
The natural gas industry pulled off an 11th-hour victory in its campaign to strip climate-friendly rules out of the latest update to the homebuilding guidelines used in most of the United States.
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Fossil Fuel Cash Is Fracking Democrats’ Climate Support

By Josh Keefe 03/20/24
When President Joe Biden announced in January that he was temporarily halting approvals of new liquefied natural gas exports and processing terminals, Emma Guevara welcomed the news. A resident of Brownsville, Texas — a historically…
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Companies Are Poised to Inject Millions of Tons of Carbon Underground. Will It Stay Put?

By Nicholas Kusnetz 03/20/24
After more than a century of pulling carbon from underground, a rush is underway to pump it back down. Companies have applied for scores of permits across the country to inject carbon dioxide deep into…
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Battered by hurricanes and tired of rebuilding, 90% of population has left this coastal town

By Nidhi Sharma and Lauren Wilson 03/19/24
Seven days a week, Tressie LaBove Smith makes the two-hour round trip from Lake Charles to what’s left of her Cajun restaurant in Cameron, Louisiana, an unincorporated town perched along the stormy Gulf Coast. Business…
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Biden’s LNG Freeze Delaying Projects and Risking US Market Share

By Ruth Liao and Stephen Stapczynski 03/15/24
The Biden administration’s pause on new licenses for liquefied natural gas exporters is already stalling progress for projects that were aiming to come online later this decade.
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US natural gas pipeline accidents pose big, unreported climate threat

By Nichola Groom 03/08/24
Last October, an Idaho farmer using a backhoe punched a hole into a 22-inch (56-cm) pipeline buried under a field, sending more than 51 million cubic feet of natural gas hissing into the air. While…
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One big downside of LNG exports: Price swings for US gas consumers

By Julian Spector 03/06/24
Electricity bills in Louisiana didn’t use to fluctuate based on geopolitical turmoil on the other side of the world. But when Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022 and kicked off a fossil gas shortage in…
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The Toxic Reality of “Natural” Gas

03/05/24
This season . . . love’s not the only thing in the air. Tune in to the explosive new show where one unsuspecting homeowner with a “natural” gas hookup is forced to live with 21…
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A methane well that leaked for 6 months has released a year’s worth of emissions for 791,000 cars: report

By Matthew Loh 02/16/24
A methane well in Kazakhstan is estimated to have released 140,000 tons of gas into Earth's atmosphere, as it leaked for 205 days in one of the world's worst-ever blowouts, environmental scientists said. The new…
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KEY RESOURCES

Is Natural Gas A Fossil Fuel? Here’s What to Know

02/18/22
Is natural gas a fossil fuel? The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Natural gas is, in fact, a fossil fuel, but it is not the same type of fossil fuel as coal…

Creating safe, healthy & affordable communities through all-electric, Clean energy ​homes & buildings

02/02/22
The Building Decarbonization Coalition unites building industry stakeholders with energy providers, environmental organizations and local governments to power our nation's homes and workspaces with clean energy.

Pennsylvania State Energy Profile

10/21/21
Pennsylvania's marketed natural gas production, primarily from the Marcellus Shale, reached a record 7.1 trillion cubic feet in 2020, and the state is the nation's second-largest natural gas producer after Texas. Pennsylvania is the third-largest…

FracTrackerVideos

05/19/21
This video highlights FracTracker Alliance's current staff and why we do what we do.

Natural Gas

04/25/20
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

04/22/20
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

03/05/20
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

03/05/20
U.S. dry natural gas production in 2020 was about 33.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), an average of about 91.5 billion cubic feet per day and the second-highest annual amount recorded. Most of the production increases…

MORE NEWS

A Methane Leak, Seen From Space, Proves to Be Far Larger Than Thought

By Hiroko Tabuchi   12/16/19  
The first satellite designed to continuously monitor the planet for methane leaks made a startling discovery last year: A little known gas-well accident at an Ohio fracking site was in fact one of the largest…
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Natural Gas Boom Fizzles as a U.S. Glut Sinks Profits

By Clifford Krauss   12/11/19  
Chevron’s multibillion-dollar write-down of gas assets is the most recent sign that the gas supply has far outstripped demand.
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Natural Gas or Renewables? New Orleans Choice Is Shadowed by Katrina

By Ivan Penn   11/08/19  
Susan Guidry stepped up as a volunteer in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, helping clear debris from the streets as part of a group calling itself the Katrina Krewe. She saw firsthand the disaster’s toll,…
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It’s a Vast, Invisible Climate Menace. We Made It Visible.

By Jonah M. Kessel and Hiroko Tabuchi   11/08/19  
Immense amounts of methane are escaping from oil and gas sites nationwide, worsening global warming, even as the Trump administration weakens restrictions on offenders.
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3rd Circ. Gives States Extra Weapon To Fight Gas Pipelines

09/11/19  
As the Trump administration moves to limit states' ability to review and potentially block interstate gas pipelines, the Third Circuit gave states a powerful backup option to veto projects in a ruling that pipeline developers…
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Curbs on Methane, Potent Greenhouse Gas, to Be Relaxed in U.S.

By Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport   08/30/19  
The Trump administration laid out on Thursday a far-reaching plan to cut back on the regulation of methane emissions, a major contributor to climate change.
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Fracking boom tied to methane spike in Earth’s atmosphere

By Stephen Leahy   08/15/19  
Scientists have measured big increases in the amount of methane, the powerful global warming gas, entering the atmosphere over the last decade. Cows or wetlands have been fingered as possible sources, but new research points…
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The Leaks That Threaten the Clean Image of Natural Gas

By Rebecca Elliott   08/08/19  
U.S. energy companies are scrambling to reduce methane emissions—both unintended and deliberate—that equate to exhaust from 69 million cars a year and contribute to global warming
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FERC creates new liquid natural gas division, Houston office

By Kevin Randolph   07/25/19  
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Neil Chatterjee announced Tuesday that the commission is creating a new Division of LNG Facility Review & Inspection (DLNG) in its Office of Energy Projects.
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As Coal Fades in the U.S., Natural Gas Becomes the Climate Battleground

By Brad Plumer   06/26/19  
America’s coal-burning power plants are shutting down at a rapid pace, forcing electric utilities to face the next big climate question: Embrace natural gas, or shift aggressively to renewable energy?
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How Democrats came to oppose natural gas

By Amy Harder   06/25/19  
Plenty of Democrats have supported natural gas as a way to kick coal out of the U.S. energy mix over the past several years, but that’s rapidly changing.
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Explosions rock East Coast’s biggest refinery

By Mike Lee, Mike Soraghan and Hannah Northey   06/21/19  
Explosions and fire tore through a historic refinery on the south side of Philadelphia this morning, shaking houses in the surrounding neighborhoods and sending a fireball into the sky.
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US power sector carbon emissions rise as natural gas outpaces renewables: Ceres

By Catherine Morehouse   06/17/19  
The coal industry continues to tumble in the U.S. as electric power plants turn increasingly to natural gas and renewable energy as their fuels of choice. And that decline might only worsen for coal mining…
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Natural Gas Now Beats Coal, Even in West Virginia

By Justin Fox   05/24/19  
The famously coal-centric state is in the midst of a gas-drilling boom but seems ambivalent about it. Wouldn’t you be?
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Opinion: Fix trade secret law to protect precious water from fracking

By Elliot Fink   05/24/19  
If the public is going to have a robust debate about the merits of fracking, both sides need to know what's being pumped into the ground.
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National Grid says no new NYC gas customers until state approves pipeline

By Iulia Gheorghiu   05/22/19  
New York has been undergoing several decarbonization efforts in the transportation, heating and power sectors. However, while utilities have been encouraged to focus on non-pipeline infrastructure solutions, slowing down the conversion of customers to natural…
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Corroded Well Lining Caused Aliso Canyon Gas Leak That Displaced Thousands, Report Says

By Mihir Zaveri   05/17/19  
For more than 100 days in 2015 and 2016, gas leaked out of the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Storage Facility near Los Angeles — the largest known leak of methane in United States history. More…
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Trump promotes natural gas as it gets caught up in U.S.-China trade war

By Dino Grandoni   05/15/19  
It is supposed to yet again be Infrastructure Week. President Trump went down to southwest Louisiana to talk up his administration's effort to open U.S. natural gas to international markets.
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Fracking can cause earthquakes tens of kilometers away – new research

By Gillian Foulger   05/08/19  
New research has now linked distant earthquakes to fracking, providing evidence that much larger areas surrounding sites may be at risk from drilling operations than previously demonstrated.
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‘Virtually No Risk of Drilling Restrictions,’ West Virginia Official Tells Fracking-Reliant Petrochemical Industry

By Sharon Kelly   04/12/19  
This week, at an industry conference focused on wooing petrochemical producers to West Virginia, officials from the state and federal government made clear their support for continuing fracked shale gas extraction and petrochemical industry development…
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Trump Signs Orders to Speed Up Oil and Gas Pipeline Construction

By Clifford Krauss   04/10/19  
President Trump signed two executive orders on Wednesday that he says will speed up construction of pipelines and other projects to enhance the production and transport of oil and natural gas between states and across…
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Con Ed Cuts Off New Gas Hookups in New York Suburb

By Debra West   03/21/19  
Across the suburbs north of New York City, clusters of luxury towers are rising around commuter rail stations, designed to lure young workers seeking easy access to Manhattan. In all, 16,000 apartments and condominiums are…
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A Fracking-Driven Industrial Boom Renews Pollution Concerns in Pittsburgh

By Nick Cunningham   03/21/19  
Once known as the Steel City, Pittsburgh is shedding its polluted past and embracing a rebirth built on health care, education, and technology. But the region’s surging fracking industry is attracting a $6 billion ethane…
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Duke 15-year plans lean heavy on gas to replace coal

By Robert Walton   09/10/18  
Duke Energy has filed a pair of integrated resource plans (IRP) with North Carolina regulators, sketching a 15-year resource plan that adds significant new solar resources but continues to lean heavily on natural gas-fired generation…
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In Fracking’s Wake: Vast Open Pits of Chemical Sludge

06/03/18  
As oil and gas drilling has spread across the United States, scant attention has been paid to air emissions from the waste the boom has created.
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Living with Fracking in Washington County, Pennsylvania

By Anna Belle Peevey   11/16/17  
A pivotal EPA study published in 2004 provided the scientific rationale for exemptions that helped unleash America's fracking boom. The science in that study was suppressed to protect industry interests, a 2017 InsideClimate News investigation…
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Water Use for Fracking Has Skyrocketed, USGS Data Show

By Christina Nunez   03/25/15  
As a concept, hydraulic fracturing has changed very little since the first wells were drilled in the late 1940s. In practice, however, what most people now know as fracking has undergone a transformation.
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Scientists Warn of Quake Risk From Fracking Operations

By Patrick J. Kiger   05/02/14  
Tremors induced by wastewater disposal are larger and harder to predict than previously thought.
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A Visit With Some Folks in Fracking Land

06/25/12  
Last week I led a group of Nicholas School colleagues on an “eco fact-finding” trip to learn about fracking in Pennsylvania.
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Is It Safe to Live Near a Gas Station?

By Ranjeeta   04/14/09  
Despite all the modern health and safety guidelines they must follow, gas stations can still pose significant hazards to neighbors, especially children. Some of the perils include ground-level ozone caused in part by gasoline fumes,…
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After a Decade of Fracking, Billions of Dollars Lost and a Climate in Crisis

By Sharon Kelly   01/21/20  
The new year started amid devastating wildfires, tied to the worst droughts Australia has experienced in hundreds of years, which encircled much of the continent. So far, 29 people have been reported dead.
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Fracking and Shale Drilling Caused Spike in Climate-Warming Methane Pollution

By Sharon Kelly   08/14/19  
Climate-changing pollution reached unprecedented levels in 2018. That's both judged against the last 60 years of modern measurements and against 800,000 years of data culled from ice cores, according to the U.S. government’s State of…
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