How is Natural Gas Mined?

May 21, 2021 | Natural Gas Facts

Over the years, natural gas continues to gain popularity. It is natural for people to wonder how natural gas is mined. There are many developments where natural gas helps generate electricity in the United States. It is one of the signs that fuel is continuously gaining popularity.

Before mining natural gas starts, there first has to be an exploration of deposits. In the United States, natural gas gets drilled from wells. Drilling then occurs up to the level of sedimentary rocks like shale, thus the name shale gas. The process is called hydraulic fracturing or unconventional production.

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Gas Deposits and How We Find Them 

Like fossil fuels, gas deposits form from the buildup of plants, and animals remain under high pressure. The process of the formation of fossil fuels takes millions of years. Natural gas can occur onshore and offshore. The kind found in coal deposits is called coal bed methane.  Natural gas can occur in three different ways:

  • Conventional Natural Gas: It refers to natural gas that moves into large cracks and spaces between layers of the underlying rock.
  • Unconventional Natural Gas: Unconventional natural gas is natural gas that occurs within small spaces accompanied by sedimentary rocks like shale and sandstone.
  • Associated Natural Gas: Associated natural gas refers to natural gas produced by crude oil.

Finding gas deposits starts with explorations by geologists to see geologic formations likely to contain natural gas. Geologists utilize seismic surveys to find the right spots to drill. Special equipment like drills and rigs get used in the mining process. 

Capturing Methane Emissions

Natural gas is one of the most valuable energy sources with a considerable level of environmental impact. It has the potential to contribute to global warming and air pollution. It is paramount methane emissions get captured before reaching the atmosphere.

The gas gets captured by dropping temperatures inside the deposit enough to turn it into liquid form to make it easy to transport to its destination.

Generating Electricity

Power plants use natural gas to produce electricity that then gets distributed to homes and businesses. The process of producing electricity from natural gas is entirely mechanical. It involves heat, steam, turbines, and generators. It’s a clean process without the emission of any greenhouse gas.

Natural Gas Production

Answering the question, “How is natural gas mined?” is not enough. It is also good to acknowledge agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, whose work is to look out for the environment. Such bodies monitor the gas industry to control emissions and the likes.

Contact us to receive further insight into natural gas production.