Natural gas basics

What is natural gas

Natural gas is a hydrocarbon gas mixture. It consists mainly of methane. The gas is extracted from the earth and fed into gathering and transmission lines that bring supplies to all regions of the United States. Natural gas is a clean-burning fuel compared to other fossil fuels. Choosing gas is better for the environment, because it helps avoid an increase in pollutants. Natural gas does not have a color, taste, or odor. It is also non-toxic. We add a special odorant to help you identify gas leaks. The odorant smells like rotten eggs. Natural gas is lighter than air. It vents easier than propane if a leak occurs.

How we distribute natural gas

How we distribute natural gas

  1. Natural gas is taken from wells, and cleaned of liquid byproducts and contaminants.
  2. Interstate pipelines transport natural gas to the Minnesota Energy Resources service area. Some of the gas we purchase during the summer is kept in underground storage fields. It's drawn out of storage when it's in high demand.
  3. Upon arrival at the Minnesota Energy Resources city gate station, the gas is odorized and distributed to customers through safely buried pipelines.
  4. You use the gas to cook, run furnaces, heat water and more.

Note: The price you pay for natural gas is the same price we pay — there is no mark-up or profit on our end. The only additional charge incurred is the cost of delivering the gas to homes and businesses.

The natural gas delivery system

Every day, natural gas travels through an underground delivery system to get to your home. There are more than 2.4 million miles of natural gas pipelines in the U.S. They're practically everywhere. Some pipelines go cross-country, while most are parallel to streets and highways. They are around your home and business. We install above-ground markers to indicate our pipeline "rights-of-way."

Our natural gas delivery system has an excellent record of safety and reliability. We test, inspect, monitor and upgrade our system regularly as required by state and federal laws.