Natural Gas as an Energy Source

Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. It is an affordable, safe, and reliable fuel. Natural gas provides almost one-third of all energy used in Canada. More Canadian homes and businesses use natural gas for heating than any other single energy source.

Naturl gas stove-top burner

Using natural gas as a vehicle fuel can diversify energy use in transportation, reduce fuel costs, and lower emissions. The transportation sector is the largest user of energy in Canada. More than 95% of the energy used for vehicles comes from crude oil-based fuels. Canada is a net exporter of oil, but half of the oil needed for vehicle fuels is imported.

Natural gas is found in large quantities throughout Canada as a mixture of gases in underground rocks. Natural gas has developed over millions of years from ancient organic matter trapped in the ground. It is primarily made up of methane, but may also contain other gases and impurities. Once the natural gas is extracted, it must be processed and purified.

Canada has one of the world’s largest natural gas pipeline networks, with more than 480,000 kilometres of pipelines moving natural gas from producing areas to end users. Major pipelines carry natural gas under pressure from gas processing plants to distribution utilities. The utilities operate local pipeline systems that move the gas to homes, commercial buildings, and other end users including fleets. Learn more about natural gas including the different types of natural gas from Natural Resources Canada and from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Renewable natural gas, or biomethane, is biogas that has been upgraded to pipeline standard. In landfills, at agricultural sites, and in wastewater treatment plants, if there is no oxygen, bacteria decompose organic materials to produce biogas. The impurities must be removed to produce pipeline-quality biomethane. Renewable natural gas can be used interchangeably with fossil natural gas.