Everything You Need to Know About a Natural Gas Well
The world runs on natural gas every day. You use it whenever you use your furnace, gas stove, and many other gas powered appliances. All that gas has to come from somewhere, and it’s a more complex operation that you’d think. Here’s your guide to how a natural gas well is created, and how they obtain this essential gas from under the ground.
Why Is It Called A Gas Well?
When you think of a well, you’re thinking of a water well that’s sunk into the ground.
However, a natural gas well doesn’t work in the same way at all.
A water well is created by drilling a hole in the ground and letting it fill with water. A natural gas well needs to drill further, into the underground rock itself. That means these wells are deeper and therefore more dangerous to create.
How A Natural Gas Well Is Created
To create a natural gas well, scientists need to first find the deposits of gas under the Earth’s surface.
They have multiple methods of doing so, from looking at the seismic activity beneath the earth, looking at the surface geology to see if deposits are likely, to even checking out the magnetic properties of rock formations. Then, when they’ve found a likely spot, drillers can then come in.
To get the gas out from the ground, it’s a delicate process. The rock underneath the surface needs to be broken in order to release it. However, break the rock the incorrect way, and it can contaminate the ground water and cause many other problems. That’s why so many precautions are taken before actual drilling begins.
Getting started, the drilling company will drill a hole down into the rock, and then line the hole with material designed to keep gas in. This will ensure that they’ll get as much gas as possible from the well. Then, electric charges are sent down the hole, they then have an affect on the rock that is around the well.
Once this has been done, a liquid fracking solution is sent down, which will then break the rock up safely. The natural gas at this point is released, and as gas is lighter than liquid, it will rise to the very top of the well for capture.
Different Types Of Natural Gas Well
There are several different types of gas well, that are all designed to get the gas from any kind of underground deposit. These include:
- Natural gas wells: These wells are created as described above to retrieve the gas from below ground.
- Condensate natural gas wells: These wells contain a liquid condensate as well as the natural gas. The gas will still rise to the top, thanks to its light properties.
- Oil wells: In some oil wells, there’s natural gas found alongside the oil. The gas can be used to aid in the extraction of the oil. If there’s enough gas in the well, it can be extracted alongside the oil.
Private Natural Gas Wells
These methods are most often used by gas companies, looking to harvest large amounts of natural gas to sell on. However, many private home owners have sunk their own natural gas wells in order to get the benefit of them. There is a substantial cost in sinking them on your property, but there’s a lot of benefits too. These include:
- You can obtain gas to power your own home. This can create large savings in your utilities bills, as you’ll be providing your own power for many of your appliances.
- You can sell on any extra gas you obtain, which creates profit for you and offsets the cost of having the well sunk.
- You’ll be able to harvest gas that may not have been used otherwise.
These are all quite compelling reasons to harvest the gas that’s on your property. You can sink your own well, or you can take advantage of a well that’s already been sunk. Companies have been known to sell on wells to private owners, after they’ve used them.
There are some downsides you should be aware of. These include:
- It may be difficult to get permission to sink a well on your property.
- There may not be gas on your property, so you won’t be able to use a well.
- The expense of sinking a well may not be feasible for you, and may not be worth doing in the long term.
The Dangers Of Sinking Natural Gas Wells
As with any method of obtaining fuels, there are dangers associated with sinking natural gas wells. The biggest problem with modern wells is the issue of fracking. There are many concerns about how this process can affect the land around it, and whether the dangers are worth it.
The largest concern is that of the pollution of groundwater. If the fracking process goes wrong, the water can be polluted by the chemicals in the well. This can have a serious impact on the area surrounding the well, and many residents are currently against having these kind of wells drilled near their homes.
There’s also concerns about how the drilling process can affect the surrounding area as the well is sunk. There will be a lot of upheaval as the area is bulldozed prior to the well being sunk, and the associated noise and construction will be a problem for many people.
As with all processes, the positives have to be weighed against the negatives. There may be upheaval at first, but the retrieval of gas will make the process worth it. If all the right fail-safes are put in place, the risk of ground water pollution is very small, and the risks grow smaller as advances are made.
As you can see, natural gas wells are the most efficient way of retrieving natural gas pockets that collect below the ground. It’s a delicate process to get the gas without causing any damage, but when its retrieved well they are the best way of providing natural gas to households and businesses that need it.
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