What does natural gas look/taste/smell like? - Shale Reporter : Geology

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What does natural gas look/taste/smell like?

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Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 1:55 pm

The natural gas the public comes in contact with most often has an unmistakable odor that we link to danger. If we detect it, we open the windows and immediately shut off the source. Unfortunately, the smell is an additive, usually a highly-sulfuric odorant, that gas providers mix in as a way to distinguish the naturally colorless and odorless gas.

At the source, there is no detectable smell, taste or visible appearance to natural gas. So, as wells are drilled to extract the fuel, explosions can sometimes occur. For instance, three well workers were injured while drilling in West Virginia in August 2012. The process caused an underground spark that ignited methane in the soil. The danger of explosions will be addressed in the environmental impact portion.

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