What is Natural Gas and Where Does it Come From?

Close up of Gas Burner
Natural gas heats homes and provides businesses and residences with many modern-day conveniences. Natural gas is not new in providing these comforts. In fact, its existence dates back to many centuries ago.

When was natural gas discovered?

Although no one knows who actually discovered natural gas, natural gas actually played a part in mythology in some cultures. When a goat herdsman discovered a fire coming from the earth’s crust on Mount Parnassus around 1000 B.C., the Greeks believed it to be of a divine nature and built a temple over the flame seeping from the earth. The priestess Oracle of Delphi resided in the temple. It was not until 500 B.C. that the Chinese discovered that natural gas fires had advantageous uses.

What is natural gas and where does it come from?

Natural gas existed before the dinosaur age, which is why it is called a “fossil fuel.” Natural gas was formed during the Carboniferous Period, 360 to 286 million years ago. At that time, there were just swamplands, and the water become overgrown with algae and tiny sea creatures. Clean Energy explains that as these sea creatures, plants and trees died, they sank to the bottom of the sea. The organic matter from the decay turned into peat, and over time, the heat from the center of the earth changed organic materials into fossil fuels.

Modern-day natural gas use

Although natural gas was discovered in the United States in the 17th century when French explorers noticed Native Americans using it to start fires in flames seeping from the ground around Lake Erie, it was the British who first commercialized its use. Natural gas was first used in the United States in the 19th century to light streetlights in Baltimore. Today, natural gas is mined throughout the world, and new sources are still being discovered. IGS Energy, one of the largest independent retail suppliers of natural gas, opened its doors in the Columbus, Ohio, suburb of Dublin in 1989 and quickly rose to the industry leader it is today. The company purchases gas from producers and sells it at low, competitive rates to consumers.