The term ‘Unconventional Gas’ refers to natural gas which is trapped in deep underground rocks which is hard to reach, such as shale rock or coal beds.
‘Conventional’ gas fields are usually situated in easier to reach layers of rock.
Until recently unconventional gas reserves haven’t been exploited because the cost was too high or technology wasn’t available. Technological advances mean it could be economically viable to extract methane from these sources.
Unconventional gas is:
The different sources of unconventional gas mean the type of gases extracted will vary. Shale gas and coal bed gas are mainly methane, like conventional natural gas. Underground coal gasification produces a mix that can include hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane.
Click here to read about the potential impacts of unconventional gas exploration.