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Oil well pumpjack, southwest of Grover, Weld County, Colorado, March 2018. ColoradoPhoto credit: Michael O'Keeffe for the CGS.

Oil and Natural Gas


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Natural gas, in itself, might be considered an uninteresting gas—it is colorless, shapeless, and odorless in its pure form. Quite uninteresting—except that natural gas is combustible, abundant in the United States and when burned it gives off a great deal of energy and few emissions. Unlike other fossil fuels, natural gas is clean burning and emits lower levels of potentially harmful byproducts into the air. We require energy constantly, to heat our homes, cook our food, and generate our electricity. It is this need for energy that has elevated natural gas to such a level of importance in our society, and in our lives.