The development of American energy is vital to our lives – it helps us turn on the lights in the morning, cook our meals, and keep our homes at a comfortable temperature. As consumers of this energy, do we ever stop to think about the natural resources we use to produce it, and how those resources are also an important feedstock to create products we use each day?
At Coterra Energy, our footprint spans many basins in the United States and each has its own unique natural resources that we use to fuel our nation. In some areas, like the Permian and Anadarko Basins, we produce petroleum, commonly referred to as crude oil – while in the Marcellus shale Basin, we predominantly produce natural gas.
While both are used to energize our country, there are some differences between the two. Petroleum is a liquid mixture, while natural gas is just that – a gas mixture mainly comprised of methane. Petroleum can be unique to each region it is produced and comes in various mixtures and viscosities (how thick the liquid is), and needs to be refined in order to be utilized commercially. On the other hand, because natural gas is mainly methane, it is often easier to refine and utilize commercially.
Due to their different forms, in order to compare the two appropriately, a conversion must take place. For each barrel of oil produced, experts have determined that it is equivalent to 6,000 cubic feet of natural gas. Petroleum is used to make diesel fuel, gasoline, and a multitude of other products, and natural gas is often used for electric power generation, residential and commercial heating, and industrial production.
To better understand how impactful they are, here are a few fun examples of what you can do with 1 barrel of oil or 6,000 cubic feet of natural gas:
- Asphalt to make a gallon of tar to patch streets or roofs;
- Wax for 170 birthday candles;
- About four pounds of charcoal briquettes;
- Propane to fill 12 small cylinders for home, camping, or the workshop
Products derived from petroleum and natural gas can be found in every corner of our lives – from clothing and toiletries to electronics and automobiles. We depend on these resources to make our lives easier and more comfortable.