What is Shale Gas?

Shale Gas refers to the natural gas that is trapped within shale formations. Shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks that can be rich sources of petroleum and natural gas. Energy Information Administration of the USA predicts that by 2035, more than 45% of US Natural gas supply will come from shale gas. China is estimated to have the worlds largest reserves of shale gas.

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How is Shale Gas Produced?

Shale Gas is produced through a method known as hydraulic fracturing, most popularly known as fracking. Shale gas reserves are usually distributed horizontally rather than vertically. Initially, deep holes or vertical wells are drilled down into the targeted shale rock formations, this is followed by horizontal drilling, it helps in providing greater access to the gas trapped deep in the shale rock formations. Subsequently, fracking fluids are pumped into the drilled holes at very high pressures. Fracking fluids are made of water, sand and chemicals. This fracking liquid opens up fractures in the rocks, thus enabling trapped gas to flow through fractures into collection wells.

Is Shale Gas Bad for Environment?

There are some potentially negative impacts of shale gas extraction.

  1. Impact on availability of water for other purposes, since fracking requires a huge quantity of water.
  2. Fracking can produce huge quantities of wastewater that contains chemical contaminants.
  3. Researchers found out that shale gas wells leak substantial amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

What is the Shale Gas Reserves in India?

As per the NITI Aayog Report, India has 96 Trillion Cubic feet of recoverable Shale gas resources.

 

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