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CHAPTER 2 UNDERSTANDING UTILITY NATURAL GAS OBJECTIVES


At the completion of this chapter the student will be able to: • Identify three chemical components of natural gas • Describe the reasons for the odorant in natural gas


• Describe the differences between natural gas and liquid natural gas.


• Explain the following terms as they relate to natural gas:


Flammable range Ignition temperature Lower explosive limit Upper explosive limit Vapor density Specific gravity Expansion ratio Cryogenic


OVERVIEW


V 2.1


Natural gas is used across the United States. In most larger cities and the sur- rounding suburban communities it is the fuel of choice for heating and cook- ing. Rural communities usually use other forms of flammable gases such as propane or butane. Some utility companies provide electricity to their cus- tomers and also natural gas for heat and cooking. This type of utility company is called a combination utility, sometimes referred to as dual use or dual en- ergy utility company. Companies that deliver natural gas to the customer are referred to as local distribution companies (LDC).


In industry natural gas is used as a raw product for producing items such


as acetylene, methanol, carbon black, and countless other products. It is also a fuel for automobiles, trucks, and other vehicles. Natural gas transmission and distribution lines crisscross the United States


in over 1.5 million miles of pipelines. The demand for natural gas around the United States can exceed 62 billion cubic feet of gas per day. This means that a single home will use about 84 thousand cubic feet of gas a year and over 5 million businesses use natural gas as well. Its widespread use, therefore, makes it extremely important for emergency responders to understand the hazards involved.


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