British Columbia Unconventional Gas Study

“Ultimate Potential for Unconventional Natural Gas in Northeastern British Columbia’s Horn River Basin”, a newly released report from the National Energy Board (NEB) of Canada and the British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines doubles BC’s estimated unconventional natural gas reserves from shale in the Horn River Basin to 78 trillion cubic feet, including 75 Tcf of undiscovered resources.

NEB estimates there is now a total of 197 Tcf of conventional and unconventional natural gas remaining in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin not including other unassessed unconventional gas resources such as those in BC’s Montney basin that are yet to be evaluated so the total could be revised upward.

This report extends the reach of Canadian oil and gas reserves throughout its western provinces and dramatically enhances Canada’s role as a global energy supplier.

Unconventional oil and natural gas is a Big Deal

In the US, the Federal Government’s Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2011 called the growth in unconventional oil and gas production a game changer in the energy industry. Domestic production of oil and gas from unconventional sources (shale) grew at an average annual rate of 17% between 2000 and 2006. The number of active plays is expanding and the estimates of potential reserves is also growing not only in traditional producing areas like the Barnet Shale in Texas but in Bakken in North Dakota and Canada, Niobrara Shale in Colorado and the Plains and the Marcellus and Utica Shale in the East and MidAtlantic states.  Shale gas production using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing to unlock the potential of previously uneconomic supply is proving to be an equal opportunity blessing for many markets across America and around the world with an average annual growth rate of 48 percent over the 2006-2010 period.

AEO 2011 Natural Gas Production

The AEO 2011 report says shale gas production will grow almost 4X from 2009 to 2035 to 12.2 trillion cubic feet in 2035 or 47% of total U.S. production up from the 16% share in 2009 (Figure 2). While total domestic natural gas production grows from 21.0 trillion cubic feet in 2009 to 26.3 trillion cubic feet in 2035.

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