Natural Gas Basics

How is it located?


Small natural gas deposits close to the surface of the earth have been quite easy to find throughout history. In Ancient Greece about 1000 BC, one such deposit worked its way through cracks to the surface and was somehow ignited, perhaps by lightning. This mysterious and magical ‘flaming spring’ was thought to be some sort of divine power and a temple was built around it.

Natural gas is still a powerful energy source, just not so mysterious. We now study its properties and develop sophisticated technologies to locate these valuable energy deposits. Natural gas generally collects in porous rock reservoirs – geologic rock formations that have, like a sponge, little spaces or pockets to hold water, or in this case, natural gas. Then layers of impermeable or nonporous rock trap the natural gas and block it from continuing to the surface. Energy experts use knowledge and technology to find these energy deposits. Geologic mapping, surveys and aerial photographs are helpful surface methods to locate natural gas deposits. But as deposits become scarcer and deeper, more advanced technologies are used­—such as magnetic measurement, satellite imagery, gravity mapping and seismic sound wave reflection. Once a potential economic deposit is identified the drilling and pumping processes begin.


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