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To complete this homework problem students should be familiar with conventional aspects of crude oil and natural gas exploration, including hydrocarbon traps, reservoir characteristics (porosity and permeability), recovery and environmental impacts. The homework is designed to expand their understanding of hydrocarbon resources by introducing an unconventional natural gas play. Students explore the technological factors that make conventional source rocks attractive reservoir rocks and how this advance impacts both U.S. energy supply and the environment. The strategy of the assignment is to lead students through a learning process in which concepts are introduced and followed by questions that require application of the concepts. For example, the concept of an unconventional reservoir rock is introduced and then followed by a question about why shale would be considered such a reservoir rock. Although some basic statistical analysis is required, the thrust of the homework problem is to grasp how technology is changing national energy supply.
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