The twentieth century is considered to be a century of oil and natural gas. And although today we have the XXI century, a leading position in the global economy still belongs to these fossils. Nowadays, coal, oil, and gas are the main fuel. It is hard to believe, but three centuries ago the word “gas” was not familiar to mankind. It first appeared in the 17th century thanks to the Dutch scientist Van Helmont. He called the substance (from the Greek “chaos”), which under normal conditions is able to fill all the available space without changes in properties – it is the difference between gas and liquid and solid bodies. Natural gas is a mixture of gases that are formed in the bowels of the earth by anaerobic decomposition of organic matter.
Since ancient times mankind faces the release of natural gas to the surface of the earth. Such gas often ignites. This torch could exist for a long time. Ancient people believed that flame holy and worshiped it. The first information about the “sacred fire” is found in Masoudi (X c.). Most of the gas torches were found in Mesopotamia, Iran, India, China, at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains, in North America. Marco Polo noted in his notes that in some parts of China natural gas was used for heating and lighting. According to the testimony of the famous Kempfer traveler, residents of the Absheron Peninsula used this gas for burning limestones and cooking (1682—1686). However, only in the middle of the XIX century, its practical use began. And only in the 20s natural gas began to be used for industrial purposes.
Natural gas is produced from the depths of the earth through wells. Usually, the gas is under pressure. This pressure is many times higher than atmospheric. The pressure difference in the gas reservoir and collection system is the driving force. As soon as the well reaches the reservoir, a powerful gas stream is pulled to the surface. To prevent the gas fountain from damaging the drilling rig and in order to prevent spontaneous combustion, it is blocked with special steel valves. These valves allow sending gas to pipelines (up to 1.42 m in diameter) under regulated pressure (75 atm).
During the move through the pipeline, the gas loses potential power, because overcomes the force of friction between the layers of gas as well as the friction of gas and with the walls of the pipe. Therefore, special compressor stations are installed at certain distances, where the gas is pressed to the required pressure (from 55 to 120 atm) and cooled. Despite the high costs associated with the construction and maintenance of the pipeline, it is the most economical way to transport gas for hundreds of kilometers.
In our modern world, people use both natural and artificial gases for domestic and industrial purposes. Among the natural minerals that belong to the fuel and energy group, natural gas is one of the main. This is the best type of fuel, which is characterized by ease of ignition; complete combustion without smoke, soot, and ash; regulation of the combustion process; high calorific value.
The countries with the largest reserves of natural gas are such as Russia, Iran, the USA, Canada, the countries of the Persian Gulf. Among the countries of Europe should be distinguished Norway and the Netherlands.
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