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The Interesting Process of Natural Gas Drilling
When you start your gas stove or furnace and ignite the small blue flame and use heat emitted by it, you do what countless other people in the world do, i.e. you use natural gas. Have you ever thought how this natural gas is brought to you and how natural gas drilling is used? Here is how it is.
Just like all other types of energy drilling, natural gas drilling begins when a natural gas well is discovered deep underneath the Earth’s surface. To discover such a well, scientists in energy companies use various methods. They examine the surface geology of an area, magnetic properties of the rock formations under the ground and even the seismic energy i.e. movement of energy from within the Earth to its surface. Once a probable natural gas reservoir is discovered, the energy company starts drilling down to access it.
However, getting the natural gas out of the Earth is not very easy. A well of natural gas is not at all similar to a water well (where a hole is drilled in the ground and it is filled with water). Natural gas is likely to consist within the underground rock. Therefore the rock should be broken to take the gas out. However, if there is some mistake in taking it out, all the groundwater supply around it can be contaminated.
To obtain the maximum amount of gas possible, energy companies border the hole with materials designed to keep the gas in, after drilling it. Further, they pass electric charges down the well, because of which the rock around it is affected. After passing down the charges, a liquid fracking solution is passed down the well under high pressure. Rocks are broken down due to this solution, and natural gas is released. Because gas is lighter than the fracking liquid, it rises to the wells top for capture.
Although all this seems alright, natural gas drilling is surrounded by some controversies. According to some people, the process triggers the release of hazardous chemicals in the groundwater and can pollute drinking as well as agricultural water reservoirs. So also, the fracking solution is added with toxic chemicals once it has been used. Although it can be recycled sometimes into things such as road de-icer, it is often kept stored deep underground or is carried to wastewater treatment plants.
Do you find the story of natural gas drilling interesting? We hope that you’ll remember it while cooking or heating your home!
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