Aug 23, 2011 by Alagasco

What is Natural Gas?

For everyone here at Alagasco, natural gas is our lifeblood – it’s what gets us excited, get’s us up and running in the morning, and keeps us working hard for the more than 430,000 Alabamans who rely on us every day for the fuel that runs their lives.  It’s our business, it’s our passion, but it’s also the best energy choice for Alabama and America.  So, what is natural gas anyway?

What is natural gas? 

Put simply, natural gas is mostly methane – a colorless, odorless molecule made up of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms.

Why does natural gas smell like rotten eggs?

In its natural state, natural gas is odorless.  The rotten egg smell comes from us (you’re welcome!), so you’ll know if there’s a leak.  (If you ever smell it, call us immediately at 1-800-292-4008.)

Where does natural gas come from?

Almost all of natural gas we extract today comes from former oceans.  Over enormous time periods, literally trillions of tiny plants, as well as animals called diatoms, died and settled to the seafloor.  There, they formed a thick layer of organic material which was in turn covered by silt and sediment. As that silt and sediment built up, it began to exert pressure on the organic material. Over millions of years, that pressure continued to increase, heating up the organic material and turning our former sea life into natural gas.

How does natural gas get from underground to our homes?

Today, we use sophisticated drilling technology to navigate underground, extract the gas from beneath the earth’s surface and deliver it to your homes via a network of pipelines.

Why is natural gas the best energy choice for Alabama and America?

It’s clean! Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel.  In Alabama alone, natural gas homes produce 50 percent less carbon emissions than all-electric homes.

It’s efficient! More than 90 percent of the natural gas produced is delivered to homes and used directly by natural gas appliances.

It’s abundant! Recent advances in technology have unlocked vast supplies of natural gas – enough to fuel our nation for generations.  To put that into perspective, America is now seen as having more natural gas than Saudi Arabia has oil.

It’s reliable! An underground delivery system ensures service interruptions are rare, and many natural gas appliances work even when the electricity is out.

It’s American! In the United States, 85 percent of the natural gas that is used is produced here.  Using domestic natural gas helps us decrease our dependence on foreign sources of energy and helps create more U.S. jobs.

We realize that most people don’t think about it as much as we do, but with nearly a quarter of our country running on natural gas, we think it’s pretty cool!


Alagasco, your natural gas partner, provides clean, energy efficient natural gas to approximately 437,000 homes, businesses and industries in central and north Alabama. To report a gas leak, a line break, or any other gas service emergency, please call 1-800-292-4008. For other inquiries about your account, service or billing, you can reach us via email or phone.

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