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The Difference Between Dry and Wet Gas
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Difference Between Dry and Wet Gas

Did you know there's dry and wet gas? Discover the difference between the two, where they occur, and how to detect them in your business.

Gas, as you know, is an invaluable resource that powers everything from our cars to the furnaces that heat our homes. Without it, we're looking at a very different world. Though for all it's value gas is also very volatile.

So it stands to reason that even those of us that work with gas on a daily basis need to understand the substance down to its smallest quirks. How it's measured, how it's used, its forms, and so on.

Today, we're breaking down part of that puzzle by talking about the difference between wet gas and dry gas. The substances are very similar, though also inherently different.

So if you're ready to delve more into the world of gas, let's get started.

Natural Gas 101

Natural gas is the backbone upon which we've built large swaths of society. It heats countless homes, helps us cook food, and most importantly generates 31.7 percent of the U.S.'s electricity.

Though most people don't know the first thing about natural gas, and those that do often overlook the nuances that make it so valuable. There's a reason we're so dependent on natural gas.

Did you know that natural gas is so efficient we're now able to build a furnace that runs at 97 percent efficiency? Or that natural gas is three times more efficient than electricity for home use?

Wet Gas

Wet natural has the same basic composition as dry natural gas, though with additional components. Wet gas contains around 85 percent methane and other liquid natural gasses like ethane and butane. It's these extra liquid components that make the gas "wet."

Depending on the area, wet gas can occur more often than dry gas. It all comes down to the chemical composition of the shale from which you're extracting gas.

To use the wet gas for our needs, we first must extract the unwanted components, including butane, ethane, and the like. In the past, these components were worthless though today we're finding them more important than ever.

Wet gas is actually proving more valuable than dry gas as components like ethane are used to create the basis for many plastics. It means that land containing wet gas holds more value.

Though that value does diminish slightly because of the added cost to extract the unwanted compounds. Like many other resources, the price varies by market demand.

Dry Gas

Dry natural gas, or consumer-grade natural gas, is natural gas that comes without the added (and unwanted) components of wet gas, but with some of its own issues. It's almost completely methane, with a higher methane content making the gas "drier."

When people talk about natural gas for heating and electrical power generation, they're commonly referring to dry gas.

Though dry gas is still commonly full of other impurities like hexane, octane, helium, and nitrogen. And so it's still necessary to purify the gas in order to make a usable product (though it's easier to "clean" than wet gas).

Dry gas is often found in areas without wet gas but can come from similar regions. Like wet gas, it all comes down to the chemical composition of the local shale.

Working With Gas

No matter which type of gas, wet gas or dry gas, you're dealing with it's important to understand that natural gas is volatile, and can come with real consequences if not handled correctly.

That's why it's important to always monitor your gas appliances for leaks. Our gas monitoring devices can help keep your home or place of business safe from gas related-incidents.

If you're ready to ensure your safe from gas leaks, get in contact with us. Our team would love to help you get started.


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