Natural Gas: Fueling a Brighter, Cleaner Future

Natural gas—which is an abundant resource in North America – is expected to overtake coal as the number two fuel source by 2025.1 Technological recovery advancements, coupled with a drive toward cleaner energy, will push the popularity of this abundant resource.

The proliferation of natural gas production has significant economic impact, contributing more than $380 billion annually to the US economy and creating 2.8 million American jobs.2

Domestic production of unconventional natural gas – shale gas, coal bed methane, and tight gas – is increasing exponentially. Some 28,000 trillion cubic feet of remaining natural gas resources are estimated worldwide. Globally, unconventionals constitute about 40% of this. In North America, however, unconventionals account for about two-thirds.3

Utah is currently the 11th largest producer of natural gas in the United States.4


Natural gas is:

  • The cleanest-burning hydrocarbon, with fewer pollutants when burned than coal (50% more CO2 emissions)13. or oil (30% more CO2 emissions)14.
  • An abundant resource, with new fields discovered daily, across most regions of the U.S. Over the past five years, natural gas deposits from domestic shale reservoirs have doubled earlier projections, now projecting a 100-year supply.15
  • A homegrown solution, with almost all (roughly 93%) of the domestic use covered by North American production16.
  • An economical choice, especially with rising oil prices. The standard price comparison between a barrel of oil and one thousand cubic feet of natural gas (mcf) is a ratio of 6:1 because of the higher energy content of natural gas.5
Domestic Natural Gas Use and Production
  • By 2025, natural gas is expected to replace coal as the world’s number two fuel source.
  • The U.S. is home to around 1,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
  • Natural gas is s a clean-burning, economical fuel source.
  • Technological advancements such as fracking and horizontal drilling have made it possible to extract shale gas from “tight” rock formations.
  • Natural gas can be used in a wide range of residential, commercial, and industrial applications – from heating and air conditioning to fueling buses and taxis.
  • Utah is currently the 11th- largest producer of natural gas in the U.S.



Fast and Efficient Processing

Advances in technology have made it relatively quick and easy to extract and process natural gas: The process of setting up the rig, drilling, fracture stimulating, and installing operational equipment can take two to eight weeks, depending on location-specific variables such as drilling depth, location, and formation. The actual drilling phase can last three weeks of continuous 24-hour-a-day operations until completed.6

The U.S. is home to an estimated 1,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.7 The majority of natural gas produced in the U.S. is shale gas, which is found in rock formations and can be extracted using a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) that is used to extract “tight” oil.

This video introduces the technology behind hydraulic fracturing and explains how it's currently being used to extract gas from tight shale formations.


A Flexible Alternative with a Wide Variety of Applications

Natural gas offers an alternative energy source with a plethora of residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation applications.


Residential Uses

Natural gas is already a popular fuel for American homeowners, who use it to heat their homes and as fuel for stoves, ovens, and dryers. And the popularity of natural gas is expected to continue: According to a 2010 report by the U.S. Census Bureau,8 more than half of new family homes relied on natural gas for heating.

Natural gas can also be used to power air conditioning. Natural gas air conditioners are more energy-efficient, longer-lasting, and require less maintenance9 than traditional air conditioning units.


Commercial Uses

Businesses, schools, hospitals, and restaurants rely on efficient, cost-effective natural gas for heating and cooling, and drying. Natural gas-powered appliances are especially popular with restaurants and large-scale food preparation operations.18


Industrial Uses

Industry is one of the largest consumers of natural gas. Natural gas is used in a wide variety of industries, including:10

  • Chemical
  • Food processing
  • Glass
  • Metals
  • Paper
  • Plastic
  • Refining

Natural gas is used for heating, cooling, drying, and fuel in industrial settings – but it is also used as an ingredient in the production of products such as certain types of plastics, fertilizers, and fabrics.


Transportation and Power Generation

Clean, cost-effective natural gas is growing in popularity as a fuel for vehicles – especially for fleet vehicles such as shuttles, buses, taxis, and public service vehicles.11 Natural gas can also be used in the generation of electricity.12