How is natural gas produced?

Once a site has been selected and permits have been received, it’s time to drill for natural gas. The following stages are involved in the production of natural gas:

Meeting with stakeholders

  • lease location is selected after consultation with landowners (where applicable)
  • proposed site is surveyed and necessary assessments (archaeological, soil, environmental sensitivity and wildlife) are completed
  • agreements with landowners are signed
  • applications submitted to regulatory agencies for review and approval

Well site clearing/preparation

  • approvals from regulatory agencies are granted
  • well location selected with input from landowner
  • lease is cleared of vegetation and top soil

Drilling

  • surface hole is drilled
  • steel pipe called surface casing is inserted into hole and cemented into place to isolate the wellbore from the surrounding geological formation; casing controls the flow of drilling mud and fluid, and prevents groundwater contamination
  • a blowout preventer is installed; it contains high pressure safety valves designed to seal the wellbore and block the escape of underground gases and fluids to prevent a blowout from occurring
  • drilling resumes until the desired depth is reached; at each stage additional casing is inserted into the wellbore and cemented into place
  • the wellbore is logged to ensure it can produce natural gas and to test the cement job
  • horizontal drilling is often used to reduce impacts on the environment and increase production rates by contacting more of the formation
  • multi-well pad drilling is the process of drilling a number of wells on one pad site

Completing

  • after drilling operations have concluded the well is readied for production
  • production casing – tubular steel pipe connected by threads and couplings - is installed the entire length of the wellbore to control production, and prevent water and rock formations from entering the wellbore
  • production casing is cemented into place
  • production tubing – steel pipe smaller in diameter than production casing - is lowered into the casing and held in place by packers; tubing hangs from a wellhead on the surface
  • to allow the natural gas to flow into the well, holes are made in the casing and the formation by using a wireline to lower a perforating gun, which is a device carrying explosive charges – to the desired depth; an electrical impulse fires the charges to perforate the casing, cement and formation
  • hydraulic fracturing is done to increase production from the formation; it’s a controlled operation that pumps water, sand and additives (fracturing fluids) into the wellbore and down the casing/tubing under high pressure; as the mixture is forced out through perforations in the wellbore into the surrounding shale rock, the pressure causes the shale to fracture – much like a stone fracturing a windshield, to create pathways that allow the gas to flow from very low permeability reservoirs

Learn more about water use and hydraulic fracturing in our operations.

Production

  • natural gas flows into the wellbore under its own pressure; crews monitor the flow to determine the placement of the choke which controls the flow of the gas
  • a production wellhead is installed and the well head is tied into surrounding pipeline infrastructure

Reclamation

  • after a mature well stops producing natural gas the well is abandoned by plugging it with cement
  • a well site is reclaimed by cleaning up and restoring it to its pre-existing condition, which can include soil replacement, compacting and reseeding of natural vegetation; once the site is reclaimed to the satisfaction of government authorities a reclamation certificate is issued
Uses of natural gas

Uses of natural gas

Natural gas is a versatile energy source. It has many applications in our daily lives including:

  • domestic uses like home heating and cooling, cooking, fuel for transportation
  • steam heat production
  • electrical generation
  • manufacturing and industrial uses like producing steel, glass, forest products, clothing, cement, fertilizer and petrochemicals
  • creating polyethylene polymers, which is the most wildly used plastic

Learn about selling and transporting

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As of 2014-07-30 16:00. Minimum 15 minute delay