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Unconventional gas is used as collective term to describe tight gas, shale gas and coal bed methane (CBM). While conventional gas resources can be developed and produced without any special well completions, most unconventional gas production requires the rock to be hydraulically fractured (“fracked”) or stimulated to allow natural gas to escape from the low-permeability rock and flow through the wellbore to the surface.

About unconventional gas

Natural gas deposits are categorized as conventional if they are contained in porous reservoirs, often in limestone or sandstone, which have interconnected spaces that allow the gas to flow freely in the rock and through well boreholes. Unconventional reserves are situated in rocks of low permeability, which makes the gas difficult to access. In...

Unconventional gas environment and safety

Throughout the entire unconventional gas life cycle — from exploration to decommissioning — care is taken to minimize the disruption to the communities in which industry operates and to protect the environment.

Unconventional gas operations

In Europe, unconventional gas potential has been identified in Poland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, Turkey and the UK. Exploration activity is underway in some areas, but it will likely be years before the full potential is realized.


Extracting natural gas from certain formations, including shale, tight sandstones, and coal beds, requires drawing the resource through openings about one half the width of a human hair.