Natural gas is a fossil fuel that can be found deep in the earth, beneath layers and layers of rock and earth. The process of bringing natural gas from the ground to your home includes natural gas production, transmission and finally distribution.
STEP 1: Natural gas production
Scientists and engineers explore areas by studying rock samples from the earth, taking measurements, etc. If the site seems promising, drilling begins.
Natural gas does contain small amounts of pollutants (significantly less than other fossil fuels such as coal and oil) when extracted from the earth. The raw gas is cleaned, and useful byproducts, such as light oils and propane, are recovered.
STEP 2: Natural gas transmission
Long-distance pipelines span North America, carrying natural gas directly from producer to user.Construction of pipelines involves burying pipes underground. Once pipe is laid, the landscape is restored to its original appearance. Great care is taken to preserve valuable crops and trees.Compressor stations are located every 50 to 100 miles. At these stations, compressors keep gas flowing at the right speed.
STEP 3: Natural gas distribution
Your local gas utility, such as CenterPoint Energy, delivers natural gas to your business through a system of underground pipelines. Before we distribute the gas, we lower the pressure so gas can travel safely through the mains and we add a non-toxic odor (similar to rotten eggs) so it's easy for you to smell a natural gas leak.
The "city gate" station is the place where the long-distance pipeline connects with the gas utility's own delivery system.
Gas "mains" are the major pipes that carry gas from the city gate station; they're usually buried about 3 feet deep.
"Service pipes" are smaller pipes that carry gas from the gas main to your business.