SHALE GAS- THE UNCONVENTIONAL RESOURCE

Unconventional means not conforming to accepted rules, standards, legality, moral law or social convention. Unconventional resources are therefore the resources that are not conventionally practiced. Unconventional resources are becoming the need of today’s world because of the increasing consumption of the already available conventional resources and limited supply. Energy has always been the lifeline of any economy and the most important element of the socioeconomic development of a country one thing is clear that the era of easy oil is over and now some changed and better policies are to be acquired to meet with the increasing demands of oil and gas with increasing population.

Unconventional resources are going to be the focus for energy needs in this century; infact some of the developed countries are already working on them.

The main unconventional resources can of three different types.  Shale gas  Tight sands  Coal bed methane Some analysts are of the opinion that shale gas will greatly expand the worldwide energy supply. Moreover the Obama Administration believes that increased shale gas will help to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. Shale gas is the gas that is naturally stored in the organic rich fine grained rocks that is shale. Shale is clastic fine-grained rock with extremely low permeability which act as a source, reservoir and seal for the gas. The average mineralogy of shale is: Quartz :30% Feldspar :4% Clay minerals: 60% Carbonates: 3% Iron oxide: 3% Shale gas is stored in shales in three different ways. a) Adsorbed gas b) Free gas c) Solution gas Adsorbed gas is attached to the organic matter or to clays. Free gas is held within tiny spaces in the rocks or in space created by the rock cracking. Solution gas is held within other liquids, such as bitumen and oil. If particularly talking about Pakistan than currently in 2011 Pakistan is at the balance of production and consumption of gas and after this in 2012 the shortfall of gas is going to be held and so the need of shale gas extraction is increasing markedly.

The shale gas reserves of Pakistan are estimated to be 196 tcf, out of which 51 tcf is in sindh.

Shale has low matrix permeability and so the gas production in commercial quantities needs fractures to provide permeability. In recent years hydraulic fracturing is used to crate the artificial fractures around the well bores. Moreover horizontal drilling is often used with shale gas wells with lateral lengths upto 3,000m within the shale to create maximum borehole surface area in contact with the shale. However not all areas may be conductive to horizontal drilling.

Many companies are currently working on shale gas including PPL and ENI because of its significance and increasing demand. That time is no more far when all the oil and gas

exploration companies will be working on shale gas. And some of the reported shale gas plays world wide is: Antrim shale(Devonian) in the northern in Michigan basin; Barnett shale in the fort worth basin, Lewis shale in the san Juan basin; new Albany shale in the Illinois basin and Ohio shale in the Appalachian basin. Some recent includes Woodford shale in Oklahoma; Fayetteville shale in the Arkansas; Haynesville shale in Louisiana; Marcellus shale in the Appalachian basin; Utica shale in new York and eagle ford shale in Texas. REFERENCES    Petroleum geology of Pakistan by Iqbal B. Kadri Internet search engines for illustrations Notes by Dr.Igbal Mohsin

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