According to experts, shale energy has a growing impact on the gas and oil industry. Shale is a type of sedimentary rock, and shale formations, or “plays,” have trapped natural gas that can be extracted through drilling. Shale can also be a source of synthetic oil when organic matter within the rock undergoes certain processes that convert it to oil and gas. The following are some interesting facts about shale energy.
Shale covers more than two-thirds of the earth’s surface, and a little more than half of all sedimentary rocks are shale. It forms in sheets through a process known as compaction, and in its formation, organic matter is trapped within the sheets of rock. It’s this organic matter that releases natural gas.
Natural gas is extracted from shale formations through vertical and horizontal drilling. Because the gas trapped within shale tends to be widely dispersed, horizontal drilling is key to the extraction process. First, a vertical well is drilled, and once the proper depth is found, the drill bit turns at a right angle to create a horizontal well. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique used in combination with drilling designed to open up cracks in the rock and release more natural gas.
In addition to federal and state regulations, like the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, the industry itself has standards for continuing improvement to the safety of its operations. These include not only technical standards but also guidelines for reclaiming land and communicating with neighbors and other stakeholders regarding impacts of drilling and extraction.
Impact On The Economy
Shale energy is expected to have a significant impact on the economy by creating an increase in jobs, tax revenues, and capital investments. Moreover, the lower price of shale gas gives U.S. companies an edge over foreign competition. Industry experts predict that hydraulic fracturing will account for 75% of natural gas in the future. Because of this, investors are looking at companies that produce or transport shale gas and oil. To learn more about investing in the shale industry, check out this page.