The occupied area for shale gas exploration purposes with access roads and drilling equipment may range from 0.5 ha to several hectares. In order to lower the risk of soil pollution, the base of the drill is sealed with cement slates with impenetrable membranes which isolated the environment from the drill.
The occupied area in the case of works on shale gas deposits is bigger than in conventional deposits due to the fact the process of hydraulic fracturing and the need to create a special container for the drilling liquid and the material coming back from the borehole. Additional space is also used for the equipment used in the fracturing process - pumps and vehicles. The nature of shale gas extraction requires a large number of drills which has an impact to the global occupied area used for exploration and fuel production. For example, the Barnett deposit in the United States which is approximately 13 thousand square kilometres, has had 15 thousand boreholes drilled to the end of 2010.
The activities connected with drill work are recurring in their nature and last a few weeks in the case of one borehole. If a given location is subject to a large number of drills, the drilling rig may stay on that area for several months. After finishing exploration works the drill exit is secured with the operational head and the surrounding area is recultivated. In the event of not exploiting the drilling area, it is brought back to its original state before any drilling work has taken place.