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By H. Al-Megren

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Regulations for fresh groundwater protection tend to be conservative, and may require surface casing to be set as deep as a thousand feet (300 m). From the bottom of the surface casing, the main vertical, curved and lateral portions of the borehole are drilled. Another string of casing, called the intermediate casing, is installed through this part of the hole down to the kick-off point of the curved borehole, and cemented into place. This casing is 9 to 12 inches (23-30 cm) in diameter, and its purpose is to keep the borehole walls from collapsing and to prevent any gas and liquid in the rocks above the target formation from entering the annular space of the well.

2009b). The application of the model developed by Berner and Faber (Berner and Faber, 1996) to the different natural-gas seeps leads to the same conclusions (Figure 5). 6 -55 -40 -40 -35 -30 -25 13C-Propane (‰) -20 -45 -40 -35 -30 -25 13C-Ethane (‰) -20 Fig. 5. Genetic characterization of the gases based on the 13C of the couples propane- ethane and methane- ethane (modified after Berner and Faber, 1996). The shift towards heavier 13C for the propane indicates that the gases are biodegraded (Figure 5a).

The size of the gas resource has been known or suspected for many years from government studies like the Eastern Gas Shales Project, but the technology needed to economically recover the gas was not developed until the 1990s. Mitchell Energy persisted with gas production attempts on the Barnett Shale in the Fort Worth Basin of Texas until they finally found a successful combination of horizontal drilling and staged hydraulic fracturing that allowed the recovery of large amounts of shale gas at economic costs.

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