Components of Natural Gas

Properties of Natural Gas

Natural gas is a colourless, tasteless, odourless, and non-toxic gas. Because it is odourless, mercaptan is added to the natural gas, in very small amounts to give the gas a distinctive smell of rotten eggs. This strong smell can alert you of a potential gas leak.

Natural gas is about 40 per cent lighter than air, it has a high ignition temperature and a narrow flammability range, meaning natural gas will ignite at temperatures above 1,000 degrees and burn at a mix of approximately 4-15 per cent volume in air.

For more information on natural gas, visit the Canadian Gas Association.

To learn more about the physical properties of natural gas, download our Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS):

Chemical composition of natural gas

Natural gas is primarily composed of methane, but also contains ethane, propane and heavier hydrocarbons. It also contains small amounts of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and trace amounts of water.

The monthly average chemical compositions of natural gas for Victoria Square, which supplies the Greater Toronto Area, are provided below:

The monthly average chemical compositions of natural gas for Ottawa Gate Station, which supplies the Ottawa Area, are provided below: