Natural gas is a kind of fossil fuel whose combustion generates negligible greenhouse effect. This is a reliable source of energy which keeps the environment clean and pollution free.
Countries like the USA have given special stress on producing natural gas with application of advanced technology. The exploration involves a chain of processes. To begin with the exploration company needs to analyze structure of the soil in order to detect areas which may contain hydrocarbons. For this, specific tests such as seismic analyses are carried out. There are specialist geologists, geophysicists, engineers, etc. who carry out these tests. If it is found that there is high probability of discovering gas or oil, then wells are drilled accordingly. If those wells turn out to be successful, then extraction and processing of natural gas starts. Prior to starting the process, the company has to acquire licenses i.e., the right to explore the field.
A very common and cost effective technique adopted while producing onshore “unconventional” natural gas is hydraulic fracturing. As per the procedure, a mix of water, particles and chemicals are injected underground to create fractures thus allowing gas to flow for collection. As per an estimate 60-80% of natural gas wells to be drilled in the next decade will require application of hydraulic fracturing.
The problem with fracturing operation is that this can have significant adverse impacts on neighboring communities. There remains risk of toxic spills of fracturing chemicals, thus polluting surrounding air or water. There are many production companies which are not at all transparent in offering the kind of chemicals being used during fracturing. This has resulted in growing media attention and public concern about potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Investors have also lost faith in companies which are dishonest in their business dealings.
In order to address these issues, the USA government has come…