The harvesting of natural gas often is performed as an adjunct to the collection of oil through shale. The collection of the natural gas by this method is not really directly bad for the environment, but the processing of oil as an adjunct involves processing the crude, which has a lot of toxic byproducts.
Most natural gas is not produced “as an adjunct to collection of oil through shale.” Most natural gas is simply produced directly through wells in natural gas fields. There is a lot of natural gas associated with oil fields (not especially oil from oil-bearing shales). Additional natural gas production comes from coal-bed methane production.
This is a tough question to answer. There are many instances where natural gas is released naturally. This occurs both on and off shore. There is no harm in collecting this natural gas as it doesn’t harm the environment.
As stated in the other answer a large portion of natural gas is produced as a by-product of drilling for oil in shale deposits. There has been recently a large push in the production of natural gas oil wells. These well use a drilling technique known as Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking). In fracking a well is drilled and then thousands of gallons of water and chemicals are pumped deep into the well causing the shale to fracture and produce higher amounts of natural gas.
Fracking has, however, been the cause of much concern. Many environmental groups have been advocating for the ban of fracking citing contamination concerns from the chemicals and concerns of water contamination. Many reports of drilling sites causing nearby wells to be contaminated and even ignitable at the tap are available. This is caused by the extreme pressure of the fracking causing natural gas to now penetrate the water table and contaminate it.
To me, and many others, this form of harvesting natural gas is extremely bad for not just the environment but for people and animals. When considering natural gas and the production of it, one should consider the sacrifice that is made in harvesting the gas. Giving up freshwater wells and and water sources to me is not worth the trade for a so called “clean energy.”
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