Over the past few decades the oil and natural gas industry has transformed into one of the most technologically advanced industries in the United States. New innovations have reshaped the industry into a technology leader. This section will discuss the role of technology in the evolution of the natural gas industry, focusing on technologies in the exploration and production sector, as well as a few select innovations that have had a profound effect on the potential for natural gas.
Advances in the Exploration and Production
These technologies serve to make the exploration and production of natural gas more efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly. Even as natural gas deposits are increasingly produced from “unconventional” formations such as shale rock, the exploration and production industry has not only kept up its production pace, but in fact has improved the general nature of its operations.
Liquefied Natural Gas
Cooling natural gas to about -260°F at normal pressure results in the condensation of the gas into liquid form, known as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). LNG can be very useful, particularly for the transportation of natural gas, since LNG takes up about one six hundredth the volume of gaseous natural gas. Advances in technology are reducing the costs associated with the liquification and regasification of LNG.
Natural Gas Fuel
Fuel cells powered by natural gas are an extremely exciting and promising new technology for the clean and efficient generation of electricity. Fuel cells provide the cleanest method of producing electricity from fossil fuels. Fuel cells are completely enclosed units, with no moving parts or complicated machinery. This translates into a dependable source of electricity, capable of operating for thousands of hours. In addition, they are very quiet and safe sources of electricity.
Natural Gas Technology Resources
The natural gas industry is joined by government agencies and laboratories, private research and development firms, and environmental technology groups in coming up with new technologies that may improve the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmental soundness of the natural gas industry. New technology and methods emerge frequently in the natural gas industry. Below are links to a number of resources that provide information on new technological developments in the oil and natural gas industry:
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