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Shale gas is natural gas generated by the breakdown of organic matter (mostly of vegetable origin) typically in clays buried to depths of 2000 to 3000 meters (or even more). It is trapped in compacted argillaceous sedimentary layers, the low permeability (micro to nano-scale) sometimes allows a favorable anoxic environment for bacterial growth, hence the decomposition of organic matter. In addition, during burial, the organic matter evolves through thermal degradation to produce the shale gas at moderate temperatures in addition to the gas produced by biogenic sources.

The low permeability of these shales prevents migration of gas, so it remains stuck in the rock. For this reason, we use innovative techniques to extract it; which includes hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Indeed, horizontal drilling increases the contact surface within the shale horizon. Hydraulic fracturing creates a network of interconnected artificial fractures allowing the increase of the reservoir porosity, hence the improvement of the gas migration to the well.

The hydraulic fracturing, also used to extract the tight gas, consist of injecting into the well at very high pressures (1000 bar, which corresponds to 1000 times the atmospheric pressure) and via an adapted casing, a mixture of water, additives, and "proppant”(commonly sand), to keep these fractures generated by the “fracjob” open.

Worldwide, shale gas resources are of the same order of magnitude as those of conventional gas, and these resources would be better allocated. They would be in the order of 500.1012 m3.
Shale gas exploitation was 1% of the natural gas production in 2000 and increased to 12% in 2010. Thus the United States became in 2009 the largest producers of natural gas. According to forecasts, by 2030, 60% of US natural gas production would come from shale gas. They have the largest reserves, particularly in Colorado. On the European continent, the most interesting basins are located in Northern and Eastern Europe and France in the Southeast basin. Moreover, China announced in 2010 that it had shale gas reserves equivalent to a Qatari production year more than 30,000 billion m3.


Hajer Negra

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