Gas plays a vital role in Europe’s energy mix. It is one of the cleanest, safest and most reliable sources of energy. It offers answers to Europe’s environmental and economic issues in a secure and sustainable way. Gas is also the fuel of choice for energy efficiency and comfort with over 200 million European citizens opting for gas to warm their homes, enjoy electricity produced from it and increasingly fuel their cars. But what is gas, how is it formed and where is it found?
Gas is mainly composed of methane (CH4) with other constituents in very limited quantities (mainly CO2, alkanes, etc.). Gas may have many origins – some mineral, some fossil and some biogenic (bacteria). Gas is found throughout the solar system, on remote planets as well as on earth, and this gas is of mineral origin – found when the planets coalesced from “stardust”. It is many billions of years old. Some of the gas on earth will be from this source. The gas that is fossil in origin was formed over a few hundred million years ago from the remains of plants and primitive life forms. Biogenic gas is still being created today from the workings of bacteria-like creatures deep in the earth’s crust.