Natural gas, also know as fossil gas, is a non-renewable energy source that has formed millions of years ago. This type of fossil fuel is formed from decomposed organisms, such as plants and animals, that were mixed with silt and sand. When exposed to the earth’s inner heat and growing pressure under the surface, the carbon bonds in the organisms are broken down and natural gas is created. Because it is an odorless, colorless, flammable, and non-toxic gas, it is widely used to power factories and even households.
The extraction of this gas is a complex process that requires a lot of skill, expertise, and money to pay for the use of large machinery. While it is quite a complicated procedure, understanding how it works is easy when it is broken down into these four steps of natural gas extraction:
Step 1: Rig site preparation and drilling
Like any other process, the most important step is getting the work area prepared. In the case of gas extraction, preparation means traffic plans, adding noise barriers, and abiding by safety procedures according to local laws. Pads are placed on top of the site and access roads are designated.
Drilling a well into the site comes next after the preparation process. A powerful drill digs a hole hundreds of feet deep to reach the trapped gas underneath the surface. Phenomenal, advanced technology is required to consistently drill the hole in the same spot until it reaches the target.
Step 2: Cementing the site and testing
When the target depth is achieved, the drilling pipe is removed. A steel casing will then be cemented in place to eliminate the risk of polluting nearby water aquifers. Before any oil or gas production is done, rigorous tests are performed to ensure the casing’s impermeability.
Step 3: Fracking
With the use of specialized instruments, fracking fluid is pumped at a high pressure through the holes to create paper-thin cracks that free the trapped gas underneath.
Step 4: Natural Gas production
Once fracking is completed, about 20 to 30 more times, gas production can finally begin. All the oils and natural gas from under the ground flow up from the wellbore and is stored in safe pressurized containers before further refining processes.
Finally, the last step taken after the natural gas extraction is restoring the area to the way it was. The wells are permanently plugged, and land restoration processes are done before completely abandoning the site.