Are the New Techniques for Mining Natural Gas Going to Be Better or Worse for the Environment ?


Mining natural gas has come a long way since its inception. The early days of gas mining were wrought with environmental disaster. Mine collapses and gas leaks poisoned groundwater and air quality.

But today’s natural gas miners have access to new, safer technologies. These technologies allow them to extract gas with minimal environmental impact.

However, not everyone agrees that gas mining is environmentally friendly. Some people worry that the new technologies are actually worse for the environment than the old techniques.

These people argue that the new technologies allow miners to extract more gas, leading to more pollution. They also argue that the new technologies use more water, which can lead to water shortages.

Despite these concerns, the majority of people believe that the new technologies are better for the environment. They believe that the new technologies allow miners to extract gas more efficiently, with less pollution.

Ultimately, the debate over the environmental effects of gas mining is still raging. But the new technologies offer hope that gas mining can be done in a way that is safe for the environment.

Natural Gas Is a Relatively Clean Burning Fossil Fuel

Burning natural gas for energy results in fewer emissions of nearly all types of air pollutants and carbon dioxide (CO 2) than burning coal or petroleum products to produce an equal amount of energy. About 117 pounds of CO 2 are produced per million British thermal units (MM-Btu) equivalent to natural gas compared with more than 200 pounds of CO 2 per MM-Btu of coal and more than 160 pounds per MM-Btu of distillate fuel oil. The clean burning properties of natural gas have contributed to increased natural gas use for electricity generation and as a transportation fuel for fleet vehicles in the United States.

Natural Gas Exploration, Drilling and Production Affects the Environment

When geologists explore for natural gas deposits on land, they may disturb vegetation and soil with their vehicles. Drilling a natural gas well on land may require clearing and levelling an area around the well site. Well drilling activities produce air pollution and may disturb people, wildlife, and water resources. Laying pipelines that transport natural gas from wells usually requires clearing land to bury the pipe. Natural gas production can also produce large volumes of contaminated water. This water requires proper handling, storage, and treatment so that it does not pollute land and other waters. Natural gas wells and pipelines often have engines to run equipment and compressors, which produce air pollutants and noise. 

In areas where natural gas is produced at oil wells but is not economical to transport for sale or contains high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide (a toxic gas), it is burned (flared) at well sites. Natural gas flaring produces CO 2, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and many other compounds, depending on the chemical composition of the natural gas and on how well the natural gas burns in the flare. However, flaring is safer than releasing natural gas into the air and results in lower overall greenhouse gas emissions because CO 2 is not as strong a greenhouse gas as methane.

The New Techniques for Mining Natural Gas Known as Fracking and Horizontal Drilling

The new techniques for mining natural gas, known as fracking and horizontal drilling, are coming under increasing scrutiny, with some saying they are worse for the environment than traditional gas drilling. These new techniques involve injecting large quantities of water, sand and chemicals into shale formations to release the gas trapped inside.

The process of fracking has already been linked to water contamination and air pollution. The wastewater produced by fracking is often radioactive and contains carcinogens such as lead and mercury. The chemicals used in the fracking process can also escape from wells and contaminate groundwater.

Air pollution from fracking operations can include dangerous chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde. These pollutants can cause serious health problems, including cancer and respiratory illnesses.

Some scientists also fear that fracking could cause earthquakes. The high-pressure injection of water into the earth’s crust can trigger seismic activity.

Despite these concerns, the Obama administration is moving forward with its plans to expand fracking operations. The administration believes that fracking can help reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and create jobs.

The critics of fracking say that the risks to the environment are simply too high. They argue that the administration should invest in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, which are safer and cleaner than fracking.


The techniques for mining natural gas have the potential to be both better and worse for the environment. They have the potential to be better because they may allow for more efficient extraction of the gas. However, they also have the potential to be worse because they may lead to more pollution and destruction of the environment.

Sue Clifford

Sue Clifford

Sue Clifford is a Minnesota-based personal finance expert with more than 25 years of experience in the money management industry. A CFP(Certified Financial Planner) and an Accredited Financial Counselor, Clifford is a leader in the industry and a passionate advocate for financial literacy. She writes a finance blog on topics such as budgeting, debt management, retirement savings, investing and financial planning, drawing on her professional experience and personal experience in money management. With an accessibility and a commitment to financial literacy, Sue Clifford’s financial blog is sure to offer useful insight and advice for anyone looking to take control of their financial future.

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