Shale gas and hydraulic fracturing (fracking)

Further information

What is conventional oil and gas?

‘Conventional’ oil and gas refers to oil and gas resources (known as hydrocarbons) which are situated in sandstone or limestone rock formations. Conventional oil and gas does not include shale gas or coal bed methane extraction.

What is unconventional oil and gas?

Natural gas produced from shale and coal is often referred to as ‘unconventional’ and this refers to the type of rock type in which it is found.

What is shale gas?

Shale gas is methane found in rocks deep below the earth’s surface which had previously been considered too impermeable (‘tight’) to allow for economic recovery. Shale gas is considered to be ‘unconventional’. Technological advancements over the last decade have made shale gas development economically viable.

What is coal bed methane?

Many coal seams contain natural gas, either within the seam itself or the surrounding rock. This coalbed methane is trapped underground, and is generally not released into the atmosphere until coal mining activities take place.

Historically, coalbed methane has been considered a nuisance in the coal mining industry, however, coalbed methane has become a popular unconventional form of natural gas. This methane can be extracted and injected into natural gas pipelines for resale, used as an industrial feedstock, or used for heating and electricity generation. Coal Bed Methane is considered to be ‘unconventional’.