What is natural gas?
Natural gas comes to Estonia from Russia with long pipelines and is distributed between different users here. Liquefied gas is collected in tanks and is distributed through cylinders, or underground gas tanks are installed in larger residential areas, from which gas is further distributed along pipelines. Therefore, it must be known that the household gas stored in the cylinders is liquefied gas, but the gas from the pipes can be either liquefied and natural gas, depending on the region.
The main component of natural gas, methane, is a colourless and odourless, highly flammable gas – ignition can occur from flames, sparks, and heat. The explosion of gas in the open air, in rooms, sewage, etc. may be possible. An explosion can occur if the room is filled with gas at 5 to 15% and it is ignited.
Natural gas is lighter than air, which means that when it leaks, it mixes with the air and starts to rise higher, but it must always be taken into account that air flows that come with ventilation or air exchange can take the gas also in the lateral direction. This means that, in general, in the event of a leak, apartments, etc. on the upper floors are at risk, but the gas can also move to the adjoining premises.
Natural gas has a predominantly suffocating effect on humans. It is not particularly toxic – however, it is slightly narcotic. When about 10% of the space is filled with gas, it causes sleepiness and may also cause headaches and nausea. If the amount of gas increases to 20–30%, it will result in a hazardous oxygen deficit, which may cause suffocation.