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Shale Oil And Gas

Shale Oil And Gas:

Cairn India will partner US-based Halliburton to start shale exploration in the Lower Barmer Hill formation, Western Rajasthan.

Shale Oil and Gas:

  • Tight Oil: The key difference between shale oil and conventional crude is that the former, also called ‘tight oil’, is found in smaller batches, and deeper than conventional crude deposits.
  • Shale Gas: Unlike conventional hydrocarbons that can be extracted from the permeable rocks easily, shale gas is trapped under low permeable rocks.
  • Extraction Process: Extraction requires creation of fractures in oil and gas rich shale to release hydrocarbons through a process called hydraulic fracking/fracturing.
  • It requires a mixture of ‘pressurised water, chemicals, and sand’ (shale fluid) to break low permeable rocks and have access to the shale gas reserves.
  • Top Producers: Russia and the US are among the largest shale oil producers in the world, with a surge in shale oil production in the US having played a key role in turning the country from an importer of crude to a net exporter in 2019.
  • Associated Concerns: Shale oil and gas exploration faces several challenges other than environmental concerns around massive water requirements for fracking and potential for groundwater contamination.
  • Shale rocks are usually found adjacent to rocks containing usable/ drinking water known as ‘aquifers’.
  • While fracking, the shale fluid could possibly penetrate aquifers leading to methane poisoning of groundwater used for drinking and irrigation purposes.