What is Natural Gas?

Natural gas forms naturally and mostly consists of methane (natural gas in Quebec is 95 percent methane), but also can contain smaller concentrations of compounds such as ethane, propane, butane, and a number of other trace elements. There are two primary types of methane, both of which form naturally: thermogenic and biogenic. Thermogenic methane forms from organic material that has been buried for millions of years at large depths (several hundred metres). Sustained heat and intense pressure from formations above the organic material also play a key role in the formation of thermogenic methane. Biogenic methane, however, forms when microorganisms break down organic material, a process that releases methane naturally. Biogenic methane also typically forms much closer to the surface, and has been known to leak naturally into the atmosphere or even into groundwater.

Natural gas has the lowest carbon content of all fossil fuels, and the natural gas found in Quebec is the cleanest, containing the least amount of carbon dioxide (less than one percent) in all of Canada.

In Quebec

Approximately 50 percent of all natural gas used in Quebec is consumed by the industrial sector, while 31 percent of the commercial sector also uses natural gas. Industries such as aluminum, textiles, pulp and paper, and agriculture all utilize natural gas as a key part of the manufacturing process. Overall, natural gas makes up about 12 percent of Quebec’s total energy use.