1. n. [Geology, Shale Gas]
An umbrella term for oil and natural gas that is produced by means that do not meet the criteria for conventional production. What has qualified as unconventional at any particular time is a complex function of resource characteristics, the available exploration and production technologies, the economic environment, and the scale, frequency and duration of production from the resource. Perceptions of these factors inevitably change over time and often differ among users of the term. At present, the term is used in reference to oil and gas resources whose porosity, permeability, fluid trapping mechanism, or other characteristics differ from conventional sandstone and carbonate reservoirs. Coalbed methane, gas hydrates, shale gas, fractured reservoirs, and tight gas sands are considered unconventional resources.