What is natural gas odorization? Why do we odorize? What is the difference between an odorant, an odorizer, and odorization?

The Problem – Natural Gas is Odorless


Odorization is the first line of defense against odorless and combustible gases.

Natural gas by itself is odorless and combustible, a fatal combination. In fact, one of the worst tragedies in the United States involved a gas leak at a London, Texas school in 1937. The non-odorized gas ignited and the explosion took the lives of over 200 students and teachers.

The Solution – Add Odorant to Gas

The tragedy became the impetus to odorize natural gas in Texas as well as other states. Today, it is federally mandated that any combustible gas in a distribution pipeline must contain an odorant so that if the gas is present at 1/5 of the lower explosive limit it would be detected by a person with a “normal sense of smell.” The regulations also require that beginning in 1977 transmission lines in Class 3 and Class 4 locations must also contain the same level of odorant. Of course, there are some exceptions to this regulation and they are in the regulations at 49 CFR 192.625.

Odorization is the first line of defense against odorless and combustible gases.

Odorant versus Odorizer

The odorizer is the equipment used to inject the odorant into the gas. Over many years, it was determined that mercaptans, which are a class of organosulfur compounds, be the best chemicals to odorize natural gas. It is the odorant that delivers the familiar rotten egg smell we commonly associate with natural gas.

What is Odorization?

The process of injecting an odorant into gas by an odorizer so that it is detectable by the nose through a normal sense of smell at the appropriate level is odorization.

GPL Odorizers

GPl Odorizers is the manufacturer of environmental friendly odorant injection systems. If you would like more information about our products, visit Natural Gas Odorizer or call me today at (303) 697-6701.