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Conventional Gas refers to natural gas that can be produced from reservoirs using traditional drilling, pumping and compression techniques.

Natural gas is a hydrocarbon gas formed over thousands of years from the burying of dead plants and animals. The intense heat and pressure caused by the burying of this material triggers a reaction, which leads to the creation of natural gas, primarily methane (CH4)[1]Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (2015) "Natural Gas Development"http://www.capp.ca/canadaIndustry/naturalGas/Conventional-Unconventional/Pages/default.aspx Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (2015) "Natural Gas Development"http://www.capp.ca/canadaIndustry/naturalGas/Conventional-Unconventional/Pages/default.aspx Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (2015) "Natural Gas Development"http://www.capp.ca/canadaIndustry/naturalGas/Conventional-Unconventional/Pages/default.aspx Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (2015) "Natural Gas Development"http://www.capp.ca/canadaIndustry/naturalGas/Conventional-Unconventional/Pages/default.aspx Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (2015) "Natural Gas Development"http://www.capp.ca/canadaIndustry/naturalGas/Conventional-Unconventional/Pages/default.aspx Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (2015) "Natural Gas Development"http://www.capp.ca/canadaIndustry/naturalGas/Conventional-Unconventional/Pages/default.aspx Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (2015) "Natural Gas Development"http://www.capp.ca/canadaIndustry/naturalGas/Conventional-Unconventional/Pages/default.aspx Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (2015) "Natural Gas Development"http://www.capp.ca/canadaIndustry/naturalGas/Conventional-Unconventional/Pages/default.aspx 

Natural gas is referred to as ‘conventional’ when it can be extracted from the Earth either through naturally occurring pressure, or pumping mechanisms (CAPP). This is opposed to unconventional gas sources such as shale gas, tight gas, and coal bed methane which require novel technologies to unlock.

 
 

Four key components are required for conventional natural gas to form[2]Department of Mines and Energy (2015) http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Minerals_Energy/?header=What%20is%20the%20difference%20between%20Conventional%20and%20Unconventional%20Gas?Department of Mines and Energy (2015) http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Minerals_Energy/?header=What%20is%20the%20difference%20between%20Conventional%20and%20Unconventional%20Gas?Department of Mines and Energy (2015) http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Minerals_Energy/?header=What%20is%20the%20difference%20between%20Conventional%20and%20Unconventional%20Gas?Department of Mines and Energy (2015) http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Minerals_Energy/?header=What%20is%20the%20difference%20between%20Conventional%20and%20Unconventional%20Gas?Department of Mines and Energy (2015) http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Minerals_Energy/?header=What%20is%20the%20difference%20between%20Conventional%20and%20Unconventional%20Gas?Department of Mines and Energy (2015) http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Minerals_Energy/?header=What%20is%20the%20difference%20between%20Conventional%20and%20Unconventional%20Gas?Department of Mines and Energy (2015) http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Minerals_Energy/?header=What%20is%20the%20difference%20between%20Conventional%20and%20Unconventional%20Gas?Department of Mines and Energy (2015) http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Minerals_Energy/?header=What%20is%20the%20difference%20between%20Conventional%20and%20Unconventional%20Gas?:

  • Source – This refers to the dead plants and animals that break down and become natural gas
  • Migration – After the dead plants and animals break down, the newly formed natural gas will move upwards through holes in the rock overlying the source
  • Trap – The natural gas will continue to move upwards through the pores of rocks until it hits a rock that either does not have pores, or has pores that are not connected to one another. This rock is called a trap.
  • Reservoir – The rock right below the trap that holds all the natural gas is called the reservoir. This is where natural gas is extracted from. 

Production of conventional natural gas has four main phases:

  • Exploration: Geological exploration is a series of technologies that are used by geologists and geophysicists to predict the location and extent of underground oil reservoirs.
  • Drilling: Once a reservoir has been located with sufficient certainty, a drilling rig is used to bore a hole from the surface to the oil reservoir.  Piping is then inserted, allowing the oil to be brought to the surface.  Some of the oil in the reservoir will be produced using the natural pressure of the reservoir.  
  • Pumping: Gradually the pressure of the well will decrease as oil is produced. At this point a pump will be connected to allow the remaining oil to be extracted.
  • Abandoning: After all the economically viable oil has been extracted from the well, the well is filled with cement to prevent any hydrocarbons from escaping and a special cap is placed over it to protect the area.

Context:

Conventional gas tends to be less expensive and complex to extract than unconventional gas due to the routine nature of the production techniques.  Historically low natural gas prices have led to the popularity of its use for power and heating.

Generally, drilling and well abandonment are well-understood and regulated processes but there are always risks with such industrial operations. In drilling, pressure must be regulated carefully to avoid accidents and immediate environmental impacts like land disturbance.  After abandonment, well leaks can occur if procedures were not carefully followed. 

One of the greatest concerns regarding the use of any fossil fuel, including conventional natural gas, is the emission of greenhouse gases[3]United States Environmental Protection Agency (2015) "Natural Gas"http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html United States Environmental Protection Agency (2015) "Natural Gas"http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html United States Environmental Protection Agency (2015) "Natural Gas"http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html United States Environmental Protection Agency (2015) "Natural Gas"http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html United States Environmental Protection Agency (2015) "Natural Gas"http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html United States Environmental Protection Agency (2015) "Natural Gas"http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html United States Environmental Protection Agency (2015) "Natural Gas"http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html United States Environmental Protection Agency (2015) "Natural Gas"http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html 

References

  1. ^ Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (2015) "Natural Gas Development"http://www.capp.ca/canadaIndustry/naturalGas/Conventional-Unconventional/Pages/default.aspx 
  2. ^ Department of Mines and Energy (2015) http://www.nt.gov.au/d/Minerals_Energy/?header=What%20is%20the%20difference%20between%20Conventional%20and%20Unconventional%20Gas?
  3. ^ United States Environmental Protection Agency (2015) "Natural Gas"http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html 

Sorry, we do not yet have a video specifically for Conventional Gas.  We are adding new  videos to StudentEnergy.org weekly, but in the meantime check out this video on Natural Gas.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION

International Gas Union

INTERNATIONAL OR PROMINENT INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers

International Association for Natural Gas (CEDIGAZ)

Natural Gas Supply Association

World LPG Association

International Association of Oil and Gas Producers

Canadian Gas Association

American Gas Association

America's Natural Gas Alliance

Interstate Natural Gas Association of America

Australian Gas Association

Natural & bio gas Vehicle Association

Eurogas

Marcogaz

Gas Infrastructure Europe

The Africa Gas Association

The South African Pipeline Gas Association

Asia Pacific Natural Gas Vehicles Association

RESEARCH INSTITUTION

Unconventional Natural Gas and Oil Institute (UNGI)

Sustainable Gas Institute

Canadian Energy Research Institute

The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies - Natural Gas Programme

Gas Technology Institute

Penn State University - Institute for Natural Gas Research

European Gas Research Group

ACADEMIC JOURNAL

Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering

Journal of Natural Gas Chemistry

Oil and Gas Journal

HISTORY

National Energy Technology Labs, URS & Wilkes University

US Department of Energy

POLITICS

Baker Institute - Geopolitics of Natural Gas

Forbes - On Natural Gas Fracking Proposals

ECONOMICS

Pen State University - Economic Issues 

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia - Economic Implications of Natural Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale Region

Resources for the Future - The Economics of Shale Gas Development

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

US EPA

Union of Concerned Scientists Science for a healthy planet and safer world

ENBRIDGE

David Suzuki Foundation

National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)

BUSINESS ANALYSIS

PLATTS McGraw Hill Financial 

Interfax Global Energy

HEALTH IMPACT

Werner, Vink, Watt, & Jagals

US EPA

Physicians for Social Responsibility

National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)

University of Maryland

SUSTAINABILITY

Worldwatch Institute

Environmental Leader

Wintershall

OTHER INTERESTING ESSAYS/ARTICLES/LINKS

Aspen Institute - Forum on Global Energy, Economy, and Security

DEFINITION

Britannica

Take a Step Back

Natural Gas

Natural Gas is a flammable gas, consisting mainly of methane (CH4), occurring in underground reservoirs often with oil.

Keep Learning! Progress To

Unconventional Gas

Unconventional gas refers to natural gas that requires advanced production methods. Main types include gas within tight pore spaces - shale gas and coal bed methane - and gas that is trapped in ice on the sea floor - gas hydrates.

Drilling

Drilling refers to the process of boring a hole through soil and rock to access geologic reservoirs that contain oil and gas.