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Finding unconventional gas

Compared to conventional gas, unconventional gas reservoirs extend over much broader areas (hundreds or even thousands of square kilometers).

However, finding the “sweet spots” in these large areas where the gas can be produced commercially is often difficult. Despite this fact, unconventional gas resources are being found across the world.

In Europe, endowments of tight gas resources are thought to be in the Ukraine and Hungary; shale gas in Germany, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Denmark, the UK and France; and CBM in the Ukraine and Germany. However, as exploration and extraction are still at an early stage, more work needs to be done to determine if commercial deposits are present, and if so, where exactly the key sites are.

In Europe, projects are currently underway to explore for unconventional gas resources. The Shale Gas Research Initiative, known as GASH, is a European interdisciplinary research project with the aim of developing a shale gas database. In Germany, the Ministry for Education and Research has funded the GeoEn Project to strengthen shale gas research.

Origins of natural gas

Not all shale or coal deposits are good source rocks for natural gas. A number of important factors must be in place in order for natural gas to form. The most important of these are organic richness and thermal maturity, which depends on the way the rock was buried and at what depth. The deeper the rock, the higher the temperature will be, providing more optimal conditions for natural gas generation.