Propane 101: Where Does Propane Come From?

gas flameWhether you use propane or you’re thinking of using it, you may be wondering where exactly it comes from. Unlike natural gas, propane does not occur naturally. It is created or manufactured for residential and commercial use. But that does not mean that it is inferior to natural gas. Actually, the fact that it is manmade is a major benefit. Propane has been chemically engineered to be safe and efficient. If you’re considering using propane in Greensboro for the first time, here’s what you should know.

Propane is Made from Crude Oil or Natural Gas

Both crude oil and natural gas can be refined to create propane. It is what chemists refer to as a three-carbon alkaline. It exists as a gas under normal pressure, but can be pressurized into a liquid form for ease of storage and transport. When natural gas is processed, propane is one of the components that is removed, along with butane and ethane. When petroleum is made into gasoline or heating oil, propane is a by-product. Therefore propane comes from either natural gas or petroleum.

The Discovery and History of Propane

Marcellin Berthelot first discovered propane in France in 1857. It was then discovered in the US by Edmund Ronalds in 1864 in Pennsylvania light crude oil. But the real beginning of the propane industry was in 1910 when the US Bureau of Mines representative Walter O. Snelling touted it as a potential household energy source. In 1912 the New York Times published an article about Snelling’s work with liquefying the gas and thus it spread and eventually developed into the propane industry we know today.

There are Many Benefits to Propane in Greensboro


  • Manmade. The fact that propane does not have to be mined is a major advantage. Though it does have to be made from either natural gas or crude oil, those fuels are currently easy to access. As long as natural gas or petroleum exists, so can propane. And because it is chemically manufactured it can be altered in many ways.
  • Only burns at extremely high temperatures. Propane is one of the safest fuels because it will only burn at extremely high temperatures, which are rarely achieved, even by a house fire.
  • Environmentally friendly. Propane is non-toxic, burns clean, and will not contaminate groundwater in the case of a leak or spill.
  • Efficient. Propane creates more heat/energy per BTU than natural gas. It can heat your home and water faster and sustain a radiant heat that feels cozier on cold days.
  • Easy to transport. In its liquid form, propane is easy to store and move from place to place.
  • Alternative fuel where natural gas is not available. Not every home has access to natural gas. Propane is an alternative that can be delivered rather than tapped into.
  • Only buy propane when you need it. Rather than paying a monthly bill, you can simply pay when you need your tank refilled. Though many propane services do offer a monthly payment option to spread the cost more evenly.  


Call Berico today to request propane in Greensboro or speak to an expert about switching: (336) 273-8663.