Tight gas

Last updated
An illustration of tight gas compared to other types of gas deposits. (Non) Conventional Deposits.svg
An illustration of tight gas compared to other types of gas deposits.

Tight gas is commonly used to refer to natural gas produced from reservoir rocks with such low permeability that massive hydraulic fracturing is necessary to produce the well at economic rates. The gas is sealed in very impermeable and hard rocks, making their formation "tight". These impermeable reservoirs which produce dry natural gas are also called "Tight Sand". [1]


In reality the term "tight" refers to reservoirs where wells are unable to be commercially exploited at current economic conditions in the absence of artificial stimulation or changes in well geometry. It is economic criteria (gas price, opex , capex, royalties and fiscal regime) which define this status and in many cases, as gas/oil prices rise then, projects that have been previously shelved become viable; improvements in technology or changes in available infrastructure may also rehabilitate otherwise stranded gas.

Tight gas reservoirs historically were generally defined as having less than 0.1 millidarcy (mD) matrix permeability and less than ten percent matrix porosity. [2] [3] Although shales have low permeability and low effective porosity, shale gas is usually considered separate from tight gas, which is contained most commonly in sandstone, but sometimes in limestone. Tight gas is considered an unconventional source of natural gas.

Much tight gas was formed 248 million years ago in Paleozoic formations. Cementation and recrystallization changed a conventional gas reserve which reduced the permeability of the rock and natural gas was trapped within these rock formations. Horizontal and directional drilling is used to extract tight gas deposits as they run along the formation which in turn allows more natural gas to enter the well that was dug.

Numerous wells can be drilled to access the gas. Hydraulic fracturing is one of the main methods to access the gas which requires breaking apart the rocks in the formation by pumping fracking fluids in to the wells. This increases permeability and allows gas to flow easily, freeing it from the trap. After that deliquifaction is used to help in the extraction.

Rock with permeabilities as little as one nanodarcy, reservoir stimulation may be economically productive with optimized spacing and completion of staged fractures to maximize yield concerning cost. [4]


Some examples of tight gas reservoirs are:

See also

Related Research Articles

Petroleum geology is the study of origin, occurrence, movement, accumulation, and exploration of hydrocarbon fuels. It refers to the specific set of geological disciplines that are applied to the search for hydrocarbons.

In petroleum exploration and development, formation evaluation is used to determine the ability of a borehole to produce petroleum. Essentially, it is the process of "recognizing a commercial well when you drill one".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coalbed methane</span> Form of natural gas extracted from coal beds

Coalbed methane, coalbed gas, or coal seam gas (CSG) is a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds. In recent decades it has become an important source of energy in United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries.

Well logging, also known as borehole logging is the practice of making a detailed record of the geologic formations penetrated by a borehole. The log may be based either on visual inspection of samples brought to the surface or on physical measurements made by instruments lowered into the hole. Some types of geophysical well logs can be done during any phase of a well's history: drilling, completing, producing, or abandoning. Well logging is performed in boreholes drilled for the oil and gas, groundwater, mineral and geothermal exploration, as well as part of environmental and geotechnical studies.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Barnett Shale</span> Geological formation in Texas, United States

The Barnett Shale is a geological formation located in the Bend Arch-Fort Worth Basin. It consists of sedimentary rocks dating from the Mississippian period in Texas. The formation underlies the city of Fort Worth and underlies 5,000 mi² (13,000 km²) and at least 17 counties.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Petroleum reservoir</span> Subsurface pool of hydrocarbons

A petroleum reservoir or oil and gas reservoir is a subsurface accumulation of hydrocarbons contained in porous or fractured rock formations.

Petrophysics is the study of physical and chemical rock properties and their interactions with fluids.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shale gas</span> Natural gas trapped in shale formations

Shale gas is an unconventional natural gas that is found trapped within shale formations. Since the 1990s a combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has made large volumes of shale gas more economical to produce, and some analysts expect that shale gas will greatly expand worldwide energy supply.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Piceance Basin</span>

The Piceance Basin is a geologic structural basin in northwestern Colorado, in the United States. It includes geologic formations from Cambrian to Holocene in age, but the thickest section is made up of rocks from the Cretaceous Period. The basin contains reserves of coal, natural gas, and oil shale. The name likely derives from the Shoshoni word /piasonittsi/ meaning “tall grass”.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Well stimulation</span>

Well stimulation is a well intervention performed on an oil or gas well to increase production by improving the flow of hydrocarbons from the reservoir into the well bore. It may be done using a well stimulator structure or using off shore ships / drilling vessels, also known as "Well stimulation vessels".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bakken Formation</span> Geological rock formation known for crude oil and gas production

The Bakken Formation is a rock unit from the Late Devonian to Early Mississippian age occupying about 200,000 square miles (520,000 km2) of the subsurface of the Williston Basin, underlying parts of Montana, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The formation was initially described by geologist J. W. Nordquist in 1953. The formation is entirely in the subsurface, and has no surface outcrop. It is named after Henry O. Bakken (1901–1982), a farmer in Tioga, North Dakota, who owned the land where the formation was initially discovered while drilling for oil.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bend Arch–Fort Worth Basin</span> Major petroleum producing region in Texas and Oklahoma

The Bend Arch–Fort Worth Basin Province is a major petroleum producing geological system which is primarily located in North Central Texas and southwestern Oklahoma. It is officially designated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as Province 045 and classified as the Barnett-Paleozoic Total Petroleum System (TPS).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Monterey Formation</span> Miocene geological sedimentary formation in California

The Monterey Formation is an extensive Miocene oil-rich geological sedimentary formation in California, with outcrops of the formation in parts of the California Coast Ranges, Peninsular Ranges, and on some of California's off-shore islands. The type locality is near the city of Monterey, California. The Monterey Formation is the major source-rock for 37 to 38 billion barrels of oil in conventional traps such as sandstones. This is most of California's known oil resources. The Monterey has been extensively investigated and mapped for petroleum potential, and is of major importance for understanding the complex geological history of California. Its rocks are mostly highly siliceous strata that vary greatly in composition, stratigraphy, and tectono-stratigraphic history.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Montney Formation</span>

The Montney Formation is a stratigraphical unit of Lower Triassic age in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in British Columbia and Alberta.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shale gas in the United States</span>

Shale gas in the United States is an available source of unconventional natural gas. Led by new applications of hydraulic fracturing technology and horizontal drilling, development of new sources of shale gas has offset declines in production from conventional gas reservoirs, and has led to major increases in reserves of U.S. natural gas. Largely due to shale gas discoveries, estimated reserves of natural gas in the United States in 2008 were 35% higher than in 2006.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tight oil</span> Light crude oil in petroleum-bearing formations

Tight oil is light crude oil contained in unconventional petroleum-bearing formations of low permeability, often shale or tight sandstone. Economic production from tight oil formations requires the same hydraulic fracturing and often uses the same horizontal well technology used in the production of shale gas. While sometimes called "shale oil", tight oil should not be confused with oil shale or shale oil. Therefore, the International Energy Agency recommends using the term "light tight oil" for oil produced from shales or other very low permeability formations, while the World Energy Resources 2013 report by the World Energy Council uses the terms "tight oil" and "shale-hosted oil".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fracking</span> Fracturing bedrock by pressurized liquid

Fracking is a well stimulation technique involving the fracturing of bedrock formations by a pressurized liquid. The process involves the high-pressure injection of "fracking fluid" into a wellbore to create cracks in the deep-rock formations through which natural gas, petroleum, and brine will flow more freely. When the hydraulic pressure is removed from the well, small grains of hydraulic fracturing proppants hold the fractures open.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wattenberg Gas Field</span>

The Wattenberg Gas Field is a large producing area of natural gas and condensate in the Denver Basin of central Colorado, USA. Discovered in 1970, the field was one of the first places where massive hydraulic fracturing was performed routinely and successfully on thousands of wells. The field now covers more than 2,000 square miles between the cities of Denver and Greeley, and includes more than 23,000 wells producing from a number of Cretaceous formations. The bulk of the field is in Weld County, but it extends into Adams, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, and Larimer Counties.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fracking in Canada</span>

Fracking in Canada was first used in Alberta in 1953 to extract hydrocarbons from the giant Pembina oil field, the biggest conventional oil field in Alberta, which would have produced very little oil without fracturing. Since then, over 170,000 oil and gas wells have been fractured in Western Canada. Fracking is a process that stimulates natural gas or oil in wellbores to flow more easily by subjecting hydrocarbon reservoirs to pressure through the injection of fluids or gas at depth causing the rock to fracture or to widen existing cracks.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Unconventional (oil & gas) reservoir</span> Type of hydrocarbon reservoir

Unconventional reservoirs, or unconventional resources are accumulations where oil & gas phases are tightly bound to the rock fabric by strong capillary forces, requiring specialised measures for evaluation and extraction.


  1. "Tight Gas – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". www.sciencedirect.com. Retrieved 2021-04-25.
  2. Ben E. Law and Charles W. Spencer, 1993, "Gas in tight reservoirs-an emerging major source of energy," in David G. Howell (ed.), The Future of Energy Gasses, US Geological Survey, Professional Paper 1570, pp. 233–252.
  3. Ali Sharif, Tight gas resources in Western Australia, Western Australia Department of Mines and Petroleum, Sept. 2007.
  4. McCoy, Mark; W. Neal Sams (2007). "Tight Gas Reservoir Simulation: Modeling Discrete Irregular Strata-Bound Fracture Networks and Network Flow, Including Dynamic Recharge from the Matrix" (PDF). National Energy Technology Laboratory . Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  5. Alan Petzet, "Wintershall starts Dutch North Sea tight gas flow," Oil and Gas Journal, 6 Mar. 2012.