From: University of Edinburgh
Published September 29, 2017 02:18 PM

Helium in coal seams may aid safe gas extraction

Natural deposits of helium gas – best known for its use in party balloons – could help aid the safe production of shale or coal gas, research suggests.

The discovery of high levels of helium in UK coal seams could help scientists to monitor the secure recovery of coal or shale gas from underground sites.

Any gas leaks from deep underground would be accompanied by a rise in helium levels, which could be easily detected.

This could help address public concerns over perceived contamination risks associated with gas extraction.

Secure recovery

Their discovery could aid secure fracking – in which rocks below ground are split with high-pressure fluids – or extraction of methane gas from deep coal beds.

Scientists say their findings could be used alongside a chemical test to monitor whether methane at gas extraction sites has escaped from deep shale.

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