This paper discusses the technology challenges and economically recoverable natural gas from three low permeability sources: tight gas sands, methane from coal seams and fractured, organically rich Devonian age shales. It discusses the nature of the low permeability resources and the technologies being developed by the Gas Research Institute (GRI), the Department of Energy, and industry. The paper contains three case studies where the application of improved technology has led to lower cost gas recovery. It concludes with an overview of the economic potential of gas reserves from low permeability formations.

There are two major themes of the paper: first, in the geologically most favorable reservoirs, natural gas is already being economically produced from low permeability formations; and, second, advances in gas extraction technology are essential for reaching the full potential of this resource.

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