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Published by Carlos Alejo

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Published by: Carlos Alejo on Nov 12, 2012
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Shale gas
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For gas generated by oil shale  pyrolysis, see Oil shale gas. 
48 Shale basins in 38 nations, per the EIA
Shale gas
is natural gas formed from being trapped within shale formations
.Shale gas hasbecome an increasingly important source of natural gas in the United States over the past decade,and interest has spread to potential gas shales in the rest of the world. One analyst expects shalegas to supply as much as half the natural gas production in North America by 2020.
 Some analysts expect that shale gas will greatly expand worldwide energy supply.
 A study bythe Baker Institute of Public Policy at Rice University concluded that increased shale gas production in the US and Canada could help prevent Russia and Persian Gulf countries fromdictating higher prices for the gas it exports to European countries.
 The Obama administration believes that increased shale gas development will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
 Some studies have alleged that the extraction and use of shale gas may result in the release of more greenhouse gases than conventional natural gas,
,although other studies 
 havecriticized one of these for relying on implausibly high leakage rates and misstating the globalwarming potential of methane.
 Other recent studies point to high decline rates of some shalegas wells as an indication that shale gas production may ultimately be much lower than iscurrently projected.
[edit] History
Shale gas was first extracted as a resource in Fredonia, NY in 1825
,in shallow, low-pressurefractures. Work on industrial-scale shale gas mining did not begin until the 1970s, whendeclining production potential from conventional gas deposits in the United States spurred thefederal government to invest in R&D and demonstration projects
 that ultimately led todirectional and horizontal drilling, microseismic imaging, and massive hydraulic fracturing
. Mitchell Energy, a Texas gas company, utilized all these component technologies and techniquesto achieve the first economical shale fracture in 1998 using an innovative process called slick-water fracturing
.Since then, natural gas from shale has been the fastest growing contributorto total primary energy (TPE) in the United States, and has led many other countries to pursueshale deposits. According to the IEA, the economical extraction of shale gas more than doublesthe projected production potential of natural gas, from 125 years to over 250 years
[edit] Geology
Illustration of shale gas compared to other types of gas deposits.Because shales ordinarily have insufficient permeability to allow significant fluid flow to a well bore, most shales are not commercial sources of natural gas. Shale gas is one of a number of unconventional sources of natural gas; other unconventional sources of natural gas includecoalbed methane, tight sandstones,and methane hydrates.Shale gas areas are often known as
resource plays
 (as opposed to
exploration plays
). The geological risk of not finding gas is lowin resource plays, but the potential profits per successful well are usually also lower.
 Shale has low matrix permeability, so gas production in commercial quantities requires fractures to provide permeability. Shale gas has been produced for years from shales with naturalfractures; the shale gas boom in recent years has been due to modern technology in hydraulicfracturing (fracking) to create extensive artificial fractures around well bores.
 Horizontal drilling is often used with shale gas wells, with lateral lengths up to 10,000 feet(3,000 m) within the shale, to create maximum borehole surface area in contact with theshale.
Shales that host economic quantities of gas have a number of common properties. They are richin organic material (0.5% to 25%),
 and are usually mature petroleum source rocks in the thermogenic gas window, where high heat and pressure have converted petroleum to natural gas.They are sufficiently brittle and rigid enough to maintain open fractures. In some areas, shaleintervals with high natural gamma radiation are the most productive, as high gamma radiation is often correlated with high organic carbon content.
 Some of the gas produced is held in natural fractures, some in pore spaces, and some is adsorbed  onto the organic material. The gas in the fractures is produced immediately; the gas adsorbedonto organic material is released as the formation pressure is drawn down by the well.
[edit] Environment
US President Obama's administration has sometimes promoted shale gas, in part because of theirbelief that it releases fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than other fossil fuels, but some scientists have urged caution. In a May 2010 letter to President Obama, the Council of ScientificSociety Presidents
 cautioned against a national policy of developing shale gas without a morecertain scientific basis for the policy. This umbrella organization that represents 1.4 millionscientists noted that shale gas might actually aggravate global warming, rather than help mitigateit.
 In late 2010, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
 issued a new report, the first updateon emission factors for greenhouse gas emissions by the oil and gas industry by the EPA since1996. In this new report, EPA concluded that shale gas emits larger amounts of  methane,a potent greenhouse gas, than does conventional gas, but still far less than coal. Methane is a verypowerful greenhouse gas, although it stays in the atmosphere for only one tenth as long a periodas carbon dioxide. Recent evidence suggests that methane has a global warming potential (GWP)that is 105-fold greater than carbon dioxide when viewed over a 20-year period and 33-foldgreater when viewed over a 100-year period, compared mass-to-mass.
 However, the U.N.Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a preeminent authority on this issue,ascribes a GWP of only 25 to methane over a 100-year period, and only 72 over a 20-yearperiod.
 A 2011 study published in Climatic Change Letters controversially claimed that theextraction of shale gas may lead to the emission of as much or more greenhouse gas emissionsthan oil or coal.
 In that peer-reviewed paper, Cornell University professor Robert W. Howarth, a marine ecologist, and colleagues claimed that once methane leak and venting impactsare included, the life-cycle greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas is far worse than those of coaland fuel oil when viewed for the integrated 20-year period after emission. On the 100-yearintegrated time frame, this analysis claims shale gas is comparable to coal and worse than fueloil. However, numerous studies have pointed out critical flaws with that paper and/or come tocompletely different conclusions, including assessments by experts at the U.S. Department of Energy,
,peer-reviewed studies by Carnegie Mellon University
 and the University of Maryland
,and even the Natural Resources Defense Council,which concluded that the

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