So what is natural gas and where does it come from? The story of this fossil fuel begins millions of years ago, when the remains of ancient plants and animals built up over time in thick layers mixed with sand and silt. Over many, many years, pressure and heat combined to transform this mix of organic material into fossil fuels including coal, oil and -- you guessed it! -- natural gas. So natural gas occurs deep beneath the earth's surface and is made up mostly of methane, a compound made up of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. Natural gas also contains small amounts of hydrocarbon gas liquids and non-hydrocarbon gases. Today we use natural gas as a fuel for energy and to produce materials and chemicals. You might be surprised to learn that natural gas is actually odorless! So then why can you smell that distinctive sulfur “rotten egg” odor when there is gas in the air? Natural gas distributors add mercaptan, which is a chemical that smells like sulfur but isn’t actually sulfur, as a safety measure so that leaks are quickly and easily detected. This ancient resource is incredibly valuable in many areas, and especially in rural communities like those we serve throughout Ohio.