Unconventional Gas - What It Is

australian oil company The world as a whole is heavily dependent on natural gas resources; to the detriment of the earth’s supplies of it. Some say we’ve topped out the supply and it’s nowhere but depletion from here. However, our proverbial ‘thirst’ for this isn’t depleting - it’s actually increasing yearly. So what may we do? The answer may lie in unconventional gas.

Unconventional gas is used just as as natural gas; what makes it unconventional is where it is found - in places harder to reach than conventional gas resources - like tight sands, coal beds, and shale beds. The more unconventional the area, the more unconventional how you can harvest it.

Different Gasses

Conventional natural gas resources are pooled, which makes it much easier to extract. It is pooled over time; 1000’s of years of building up from heat and organic material trapped in rock. This really is pushed up, thereby forming pools. Unconventional gas, on the other hand, doesn’t get pushed up and pooled, it remains trapped. This makes it much harder, and much more expensive, to extract - deeming it ‘unconventional’.

Information and expertise in extracting the gas from the particles they’re trapped in are scarce around the world. Outside the United States, unconventional gas has been overlooked and understudied. With the worlds dependence on natural gas, this is the time for companies to consider ways of accessing unconventional gas.
Some of the principle types of unconventional gas are:

  • Shale Bed Gas: Gas which is trapped in clay particles and found in fine shale rock formations.
  • Coal Bed Methane: Gas which can be found in coal particles and is trapped in coal deposits.
  • Tight Sands: Gas forms in carbonate or sandstone and gets trapped there.

All three of these hold gas, but are not very permeable materials, so the gas gets stuck and so doesn’t form into pools - making it difficult for those wanting to extract it.

Unconventional gas can be a viable way for the world to continue on because it is for some time. As technology improves and researchers develop new and innovative methods to extract these gasses, what exactly is unconventional now may be considered conventional in the future. Gas is cleaner than oil, along with the world turning more ‘green’ in a collective effort to help protect our planet and preserve it for our children, the push is stronger than ever for it.

Unfortunately, the cost involved in harvesting unconventional gas is high, which is why unconventional gas has yet to hit its stride. As time goes on and newer technologies are developed unconventional gas very well may become the norm the world over. Maybe unconventional gas will be conventional sometime soon.

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