Natural gas is an important energy source that has hundreds of uses. It's considered to be safer than most other fuels, however dangerous situations can still arise. Know how to avoid natural gas hazards and how to act quickly in an emergency.
Natural gas fireplaces and heaters are used more often in the winter, and as a result the threat of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning increases.
Facts about natural gas
- Natural gas is the cleanest burning conventional fuel. It produces 45 per cent less carbon dioxide than coal.
- It is highly flammable.
- Lighter than air, natural gas will rise and disperse into the atmosphere.
- Because it is odourless and colorless, we add an odorant called mercaptan to our natural gas to give it a sulphurous odour, often described as a rotten egg smell.
- The odorant may be leached out in certain soil conditions and is not present in a 19-km section of pipeline that feeds gas to the Koch Chemical Plant and the Brandon Generating Station.
- If there is a large underground leak, the escaping gas may distort the light waves making the vapour cloud look like a light shimmer.
- It may cause bubbles in water or create distinct patches of dead or discoloured vegetation.
- High concentrations of natural gas can become an asphyxiant and displace oxygen from the air.
Natural gas material safety data sheets (MSDS)
Odourized natural gas (PDF, 94 KB).
Unodourized natural gas (PDF, 98 KB).