Green Mining

Green MiningGreen Mining

Greener Mining Innovations

Researchers and businesses alike are working to transform North American mining into a cleaner, greener industry. It’s an industry that affects ordinary people much more than they usually recognize: mining projects provide core materials for batteries, phones, and even tooth fillings.

Nevertheless, mining has earned a reputation as a dirty business that is bad for the environment and even dangerous. But mining is in the middle of a transformation — a greener future is already on its way, thanks to a range of new innovations.

Putting Money into Research

Ahead of everything else, major research and development commitments by companies and granting agencies are pushing the field of green mining forwards. It’s key for any mining company considering streamlining and greening their production to invest in development — change, after all, is expensive, and the best solutions work within existing systems.

Natural Resources Canada (NRC) is backing cleaner mining at a national level, and established CanmetMining is conducting research and development on extraction processes and developing technologies towards the goal of creating long-term sustainable options.

Building Small

One new innovation in mining is the introduction of low-impact drilling rigs in remote areas. Energold, a Vancouver company, currently uses 100 of these rigs, which are made up of smaller-than-usual pieces, and can be transported in parts by hand and pack mule.

The resulting rigs are only about four by four meters, or about 4% the size of a standard rig. The reduced environmental impact of these rigs and their increased safety makes them an attractive green mining option.

Sonic Drilling

Faster drilling with no drilling muds is an ideal situation, and one that is a recent reality. An innovative process run out of Chilliwack, BC called sonic drilling uses mechanical oscillation in the drill head to drill up to three times faster than a conventional drill. It’s been used to mine diamonds, gold, lithium, and more. And the system uses absolutely no drilling fluids, which vastly reduces the method’s environmental impact.

Sorting Ore, Just Better than Before

No matter what kind of mine, it’s the mill that uses both water and energy. Cleaning up that process is a promising way to cut mining waste.

MineSense, a new technology out of Vancouver, BC, applies high-frequency electromagnetic spectroscopy to get real-time mineral content measurement in mining shovels. That way, useless material can be rejected immediately, and recovery at the mill is a streamlined and enhanced process. Overall, sensor-based sorting like that offered by MineSense offers big savings in energy, water, and chemical requirements for both extraction and evaluation in the mining process.

Reclaiming Lands

Restoring land after a mine closes its doors has traditionally been a long and difficult process, and if it isn’t done right, the area can become a risk for the surrounding communities and environment. That’s why a key green trend in mining has been increased attention to environmental rehabilitation, from soil to trees.

In New Zealand, a coal mining company called Solid Energy has pioneered a new way to rehabilitate old mining sites using municipal bio-solid waste. The innovation helps keep cities clean, and the bio-solids provide nutrient-rich organic matter. With the nutrient boost, plants are able to grow back quickly, simultaneously reducing the damage sediment run-off might otherwise cause.

Oil and Gas Industry Education in Canada

Oil and Gas Industry EducationOil and Gas Industry Education in Canada

The Canadian skills gap is a big issue, but oil and gas workers and students don’t need to be afraid of it thanks to a wealth of training programs available countrywide.

We all know that energy is big business in Canada. In fact, one third of Canadians rated the oil and gas industry as one of the top three industries for job opportunities next year, according to the Randstad Canada Labour Trends Study 2014.

Of those polled, 9 in 10 thought that the skills gap would be a serious issue in 2014. What’s more, in provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan, where oil and gas projects are booming, the lack of skilled trade workers was seen as the biggest issue facing the industry in 2014.

Young workers (under 34) in particular expect employers to provide financial incentives for their work and training, while mature workers (over 55) are more likely to believe that career incentives should start in schools.

Another debated question is whose responsibility it is for the training required to close the gap, with one in three workers believing that governments should do more to train under and unemployed workers. A full 40% of workers believe companies should invest more in skills training.

This lack of confidence hurts both employers who need great workers and the potential employees alike. Luckily, workers can take control of their futures in several ways.

Getting your Start in Oil and Gas

Workers passionate about theory should lean towards traditional engineering programs at universities, which set them up for professional engineering licenses.

But if you just want a quick and hands-on approach to learning, most community college programs offer a fast way to get your hands dirty. It’s worth checking out your program’s transferability to four-year degrees, too, in case you decide you want to go the traditional route.

Several Canadian schools offer programs designed specifically to get you into petroleum engineering and technology: Cape Breton University , the University of Calgary, the University of Alberta, and the University of Saskatchewan all offer excellent engineering programs geared to the petroleum industry.

Getting Ahead

For many workers, understanding how to get into the oil and gas industry is enough of a challenge. Then there’s the question of ongoing skill renewal in order to stay on top of industry standards and advance professionally.

Professional certifications can help you stand out from the crowd professionally and help you move into management roles more quickly than your less-prepared counterparts. Certification programs require professional experience, and often other supporting information. Keep a portfolio, and keep your eyes open for new opportunities.

Certification can make you an attractive employment option, and help you understand complex issues prior to encountering them in the field. Whether your interest lies in helping communities understand and work with oil and gas projects through stakeholder relations, keeping worksite standards up as a Safety Professional or establishing contracts as a landman, there is a professional option out there for you.

Nor does education have to stop at the professional and undergraduate level. Plenty of universities offer Masters of Science programs in petroleum or environmental engineering. From there, a doctorate certainly isn’t out of the question for an academic oil and gas worker.

Canadian Pipeline Safety Measures

Industrial zone, Steel pipelines and valvesCanadian Pipeline Safety Measures

Understanding the 2014 Canadian Pipeline Safety Measures

Oil spills are bad business for any company in the industry, no matter the scale. It hurts the bottom line, and it hurts a company’s reputation. Any spill is a high-profile event — some examples being the Kalamazoo River spill in 2010, or the spill in Slave Lake earlier this year.

Since pipelines are the fastest and most reliable way to transport Canadian crude oil, it makes sense that keeping spills that occur using this method of transportation to a minimum is a high priority for the Canadian government and oil companies alike.

That said, Canadian pipeline safety is second to none, and pipelines are one of the safest and most environmentally-friendly ways to transport oil over long distances. Natural Resources Canada reports that between 2008 and 2012, nearly all, in fact, 99.999% of the crude oil and petroleum products shipped through federally-regulated pipelines, was done without incident, and safely. That puts the rate of spills on Canadian federally regulated pipelines at two thirds lower than the rates in both Europe and the United States over the past decade. And, due to effective spill cleanup, 100% of the liquids spilled from 2008-2012 were recovered.

Furthermore, new funding provided in the Economic Action Plan 2012 allowed the National Energy Board to increase annual inspections of oil and gas pipelines by 50 percent and to double the number of comprehensive audits to improve pipeline safety across Canada. But the measures to maintain high levels of safety don’t stop there. Additionally, on May 14, 2014, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, Greg Rickford, announced increased measures to improve Canadian pipeline safety.

Here’s a brief overview of what the National Energy Board measures address:

Absolute Liability

Under Absolute Liability, pipeline companies will be liable for costs and damages up to $1 billion, irrespective of fault. Companies at fault will also have unlimited liability for spills, which means their retributions are not capped at a maximum amount and exist regardless of the amount of investment each party has personally made. This follows the polluter pays principle, demanding that pipeline operators can show their ability to respond to any potential incident. The Canadian government believes that placing financial onus on companies will keep them incentivized to keep their pipelines spill-free.

Increased Aboriginal Participation

The new regulations mandate higher levels of Aboriginal participation in pipeline safety, from planning and monitoring to incident response. This is a particularly important opportunity for many Aboriginal communities located close to future energy projects, and could offer an immense benefit for their communities.

A Stronger National Energy Board Role

The new regulations will give the NEB several important powers. These include the authority to order reimbursement for cleanup costs, the ability to provide guidance on technologies and techniques in the pipeline building process, and the ability to take control of incident response in the place of responsible companies.

Additional Measures

In 2013, the government instituted penalties up to $25,000 for individuals and $100,000 for companies, municipalities and utilities for every day of non-compliance with safety requirements. If penalties prove ineffective, the NEB can revoke authorizations, impose operations-restricting safety orders, issue stop work orders, and, in the most serious cases, pursue criminal prosecution.

Finally, the NEB undertook an increase in both inspections and auditing last year, mandating company inspections through the use of state-of-the-art monitoring technology.

The quantity and the intensity of these various safety measures stand as an assurance for Canadians with a desire to protect the environment.

Canadian Petroleum Engineering Schools

canadian petroleum engineering schoolsCanadian Petroleum Engineering Schools: Reputable Petroleum Engineering Schools in Canada to Consider

Planning to launch your career in oil and gas? The first step to becoming a desirable employee is getting a great education under your belt, which will prepare you for the challenges of working in the oilfield. The industry is in particular need of engineers from all disciplines, especially petroleum engineers. In fact, the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada estimates the oil and gas industry will need roughly another 1,100 petroleum engineers by 2015.

One incentive for pursuing this career path is the high wages petroleum engineers earn. The average income is $141,000 Canadian, with a top end around $282,000. In fact, petroleum engineering is considered the highest paying engineering jobs in the world according to

To provide background on what petroleum engineers do, they’re the people on the oil and gas team who assess costs and viability of drilling projects, and design the methods for extracting oil. The education required for this career is intensive, and not all schools offer petroleum engineering programs. Instead, many working petroleum engineers have backgrounds in chemical or mechanical engineering. That means that you can put yourself ahead of the pack by getting the best specialized education.

University of Alberta

This university in the heart of the Canadian prairies offers a BSc in petroleum engineering, and it is the only school in Canada with international accreditation and recognition. It also offers an Msc, MEng, and PhD in petroleum engineering, giving students access to long-term education in its well-funded facilities.

Memorial University

The Memorial MSc is in Oil and Gas Engineering, meaning it covers both oil and natural gas engineering. There’s also an opportunity to work in an internship as part of the program. The school also offers programs in Process Engineering — which focuses on modifying materials like oil for use in products — and Environmental Systems Engineering and Management — which covers remediation, environmental law, and arctic offshore drilling.

Dalhousie University

There are two options here: A MEng in Petroleum engineering, or an MEng or PhD in Mineral Resource Engineering with a focus on petroleum. Both programs offer research opportunities for students, with the rare opportunity to study cutting-edge challenges like offshore drilling, ocean fluids, and reservoir engineering.

University of Regina

The University of Regina’s program is connected to the Petroleum Technology Research Centre, a facility used for research into all areas of petroleum production, from oil recovery to carbon storage. Its mandate is to improve petroleum recovery rates while reducing the environmental footprint of the industry. The connection gives BSc, MEng, MSc and PhD students a high level of hands-on training.

University of Calgary

The BSc in Oil and Gas Engineering at the University of Calgary covers geological principles, thermodynamics, and mass conservation alongside practical courses on oil field safety, well testing, and drilling. Set in the heartland of oil production, the potential professional links here are excellent.

Northern College of the Atlantic

Northern College of the Atlantic offers a three-year program, with a minimum of 12 weeks work experience. This combination builds an excellent base of technical knowledge and builds it up with a strong foundation in real-world lessons.

Canadian Producers Sheltered from Oil’s Plunge

Canadian producers sheltered from oil’s plunge

We came across this interesting statement in an article in The Globe and Mail, written by Shawn McCarthy and Jeff Lewis.

The article states

“Canadian crude producers are being cushioned from falling global prices by a drop in the loonie and narrower discounts for heavy oil shipped to key U.S. markets.

Brent crude, the global benchmark, has fallen about 15 per cent over the past 30 days, and U.S. West Texas intermediate has also tumbled sharply. But in Canada, the average price in Canadian dollars received by producers was actually slightly higher in the past month than over the previous 4 1/2 years, Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Leslie Preston said in a report Monday.

The reason is tied to favourable moves in the currency market, along with a reduced discount for Canadian heavy oil against WTI as more Alberta oil finds its way to U.S. refineries in need of heavy crude.”

Click here to read the article in it’s entirety.

The Future of Canadian LNG

future of canadian lngThe Future of Canadian LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas)

Canada isn’t fully capitalizing on the global LNG market due to speculation and storage – but with global LNG demand growing, how soon should Canada bolster its LNG production and market strategy?

Indexing the Concern

A survey conducted by Alberta Oil Magazine offers a look into the current state of liquid natural gas (LNG) in Canada, particularly in British Columbia, where over twelve LNG megaprojects of historic proportions have been proposed.

Unfortunately, final investment decisions have yet to be made due to price variances because of unfortunate seasonal influence and hoarding.

With regards to investor sentiment, the survey found that:

  1. Investors are concerned with the possibility of over-supplying the market to the point it would make the industry significantly less profitable.
  2. Increasing domestic industry demand will not have a negative effect on the economic viability of the BC projects.
  3. Investors would like to see more government support to introduce training measures that address the small labor pool that the LNG industry will be facing.
  4. Investors would support the idea of using foreign workers to fill the labor gap.
  5. Investors are concerned with the prospect of Japan’s current dependence on natural gas slipping due to the reinitializing of their nuclear power plants, which were shut down since 2011 after the Fukushima disaster.
  6. Investors are on the fence about how much of an effect changing the price index will have on the industry.
  7. Investors feel that the B.C government isn’t doing enough to promote the industry, finding the two-tier tax policy uncompetitive compared to policies in the US and Australia.
  8. If the industry would further pursue floating LNG facilities, with their reduced capital and operating costs, LNG projects would be viable and competitive.

The Answer to Cold Feet: Export, Export, Export

While some LNG productions are being switched over to oil production because of LNG’s low price point, other LNG producers such as Quicksilver Resources and Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd have asked for federal permission to export 20 million tonnes of LNG per year over 25 years. This is a constructive attempt to diversify the markets beyond North America and benefit from higher prices in the Pacific markets. This is in part the reason there is such high interest in developing over a dozen LNG projects along the B.C. coast.

If these projects can gain ground and funding, this can help bring consistency and competitiveness back into the North American LNG market where in turn a wider application and use of natural gas in public and private transportation can help contribute to ongoing efforts to reduce carbon emissions and pollutants, as well as progress the embedding of sustainable and renewable fuel.

In addition to pursuing exportation as an option, it is important for LNG companies to address the investor concerns uncovered through the Alberta Oil Magazine survey. If industry leaders would work to gain greater government support and would consider alternative practices such as foreign workers and floating LNG facilities they may see investor interest increasing and their proposed megaprojects may become a reality.

Is There a Glass Ceiling in the Oil and Gas Industry?

Glass Ceiling in the Oil and Gas IndustryIs There a Glass Ceiling in the Oil and Gas Industry for Women?

Canada has been known to promote gender equality in both the business world and in society. However, a report published by Oxfam indicates otherwise. It has been found that progress for women in the Canadian economy has stalled and, in many cases, moved backwards. The existence of a glass ceiling for women is an unspoken truth in the business world.

This gender inequality is even more evident in the oil and gas industry. A study in 2011 indicated that nearly one third of publicly traded energy companies had no women in executive positions or as members of the board. As much as efforts have been made to break the theoretical ceiling, the energy industry seems to be missing the mark.

The lack of equality advancement in the oil and gas sector could exist for many reasons, including current industry executives being from a previous generation and a general lack of female interest in the industry.

Fortunately, there are a few notable successes in the advancement of women working in the energy sector. For example, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) finally had their first Chairwoman, Kathy Sendall, after 15 years of exclusively male leaders. And in May of 2007, Bonnie Dupont, became the first woman to be the president of the Calgary Petroleum Club.

Cracking the glass

In a recent PWC study of women in board positions in the field, it was found that businesses with women on the board and in senior management positions generally have better financial performance and higher profitability.

Despite this, a survey of the 100 largest gas and oil companies saw only 11% of board seats held by women. This ratio is second only to the mining industry in terms of male domination. The average board surveyed held 11 seats, including two executive seats. Of these, 13% were women in non-executive seats and barely 1% in executive positions. Of the women who do hold seats in management, very few have a chance at the board director seat – suggesting the presence of a ceiling even in the highest levels of business.

In order to change attitudes and open doors for women, industry insiders have started to change attitudes early. They have started by working with universities since 2010 in increasing the recruitment of female engineering students. The Schulich School of Engineering has had success with their website –, created to pair female professional engineers with prospective female students to promote an increase in participation in the engineering field. Their goal is to foster corporate leadership, community involvement, and most importantly, to encourage women who are considering pursuing related careers.

Personal Deterrents

One possibility of better upward movement for women is to include additional technical subjects throughout their studies so that they are better equipped to move directly into the oil and gas field upon graduation.

Additionally, companies should seek to keep employees happy, as many are beginning to opt ‘out’ of their field instead of ‘up’ within the business. Better support for women, through mentorship and communication, during their time in the leadership pipeline can also prepare them for upper management roles and to support their pursuit of upward movement. Retention of employees through this support is a key factor in keeping qualified women in the field.

Oil and Gas Greenhouse Emissions: Turning to Science to Reduce C02 Emissions

Oil and Gas Greenhouse EmissionsThe Oil and Gas Industry Turns To Science to Reduce CO2 Emissions

There’s no doubt that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a global challenge.  It’s estimated that natural gas flares emit as much carbon dioxide as a million cars a year.

According to a publication released by Statistics Canada in 2008, even though Canada is only 0.5 percent of the world’s population, we are the highest per capital emitters by contributing about 2 percent of the total global GHG. This is largely due to the size of our country, our low population density and our climate, which generates high demands of energy. Furthermore, natural gas flaring causes approximately 0.5 percent of all CO2 fossil fuel emissions in Canada.

To find viable solutions to the GHG emissions, initiatives are being spearheaded from around the world to encourage leaders in the oil and gas industry to think outside the box.

For example, Alberta’s Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC) has turned to science. CCEMC is using part of the per-tonne charge imposed on large CO2 emitters to fund a global competition to find new ways to turn wasteful carbon emissions into valuable resources.

So far, the $230 million dollars invested seems to be money well spent.  Last year, the CCEMC received 344 submissions from 37 countries using a variety of technologies and winning entries that received $500,000 have the means to further advance their technology. According to the CCEMC, to date, there are 90 projects being adopted that are expected to reduce 20 million tones of CO2 by the 2020.

Other initiatives are also underway.  In North Dakota, Mark Wald of Blaise Energy (and his team of engineers) has come up with an idea to convert natural gas flares into electricity. With the development of fracking, new wells are popping up in North Dakota at lightning speed.  In the last five years, North Dakota has seen a 600 percent rise in oil production, leaving dozens of natural gas flares to light up the skies. Blaise Energy is able to use a mobile generator at each oil well site to capture natural gas, convert it to electricity and sell the electricity back to the power grid.  The downside is that most drilling rigs are powered by diesel, and the cost of running the generator is quite expensive.

Blaise Energy has also figured out how to pull out the heavier propane and butane from lighter gases.  Today, oil companies are able to reduce the size of the flare and are able to sell part of the gas. The next step is to make the entire process more economically feasible. Blaise Energy is using the $375,000 grant received by the North Dakota Industrial Commission to continue its scientific exploration.

Compact GTL and Velocys are also among those who are trying to turn natural gas into a synthetic fuel oil.  Using catalytic reactions, natural gas is combined with steam to create a waxy synthetic mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. At this point the chemical process created by Compact GTL and Velocys are only available on a large scale. The challenge is to scale down the technology so it can fit on offshore platforms or floating barges.

Carbon utilization seems to be an underdeveloped area of science, as many technologies are still in their infant stages. It’s hard to predict how long the natural gas flames with shoot across the sky, but with CCEMC’s initiative and the global community putting their scientific minds together, viable ways to capture and recycle natural gas may be closer than we think.

How the Russian/Ukraine War Will Affect Canada’s Oil and Gas Industry

russia war oilHow the Russian Ukraine War Will Affect Canada’s Oil and Gas Industry

Months after Russia cut off Ukraine’s natural gas supply, no pricing resolution has been achieved.  During Ukraine’s summer months the effects of the cut off were minimal; however with winter fast approaching, unless there’s an agreed upon price, the impact of the Russia / Ukraine war is expected to take its toll on Canada’s oil and gas industry.

As the intensity of the ground fighting in Russia and the Ukraine increases, so does the conflict over energy. Russia, Ukraine and the European Union are scrambling to come up with a last-minute proposal; however the price Russia wants to charge the Ukraine seems to be a major roadblock.

The European Union is concerned that lasting disruptions in gas shipments could expand into the European nations.  Since approximately 15 percent of gas exported to the EU runs through the Russian pipeline, if the pipes remain closed, the financial pressure felt throughout the world is imminent.

According to EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration) about half of Russian federal revenue comes from oil and gas.  Germany, Netherlands, China, Poland and Belarus are among Russia’s largest oil customers.  Stiff economic measures for the EU-27 are not predicted. In fact, the EU is being forced to show restraint as an interruption in oil supply would cause economic turmoil for many countries.

In Canada, the impact can be expected in three major ways:

  • Higher Gas Prices – Pressure is being felt on oil prices around the world. Investors are turning to the USD as a safe haven, which is weakening the Canadian dollar against the US dollar. As a result, energy import costs are on the rise and Canadians are expected to feel the blow on rising oil prices at the pumps.
  • Stock Market Fluctuations – Typically, geopolitical risk and the pause of economic growth tends to wreak havoc on investor confidence. The Russia / Ukraine gas and oil conflict has many investors rattled, which in turn affects everything from pension funds to RRSPs. As oil prices rise, Canadian small-cap oil stocks could do well. However, Ed Devlin, who develops Pimco’s Canadian economic strategies and outlook, argues that the Canadian economy is at a tipping point.
  • Higher Food Prices – As gas prices rise, so will the price of food and food exports. It’s predicted that grain prices will rise and the increase in European food prices could trickle into Canada.

On the bright side, three substantial energy deals have been negotiated with Canada.

  • The Lama Energy Group headquartered in the Czech Republic have partnered with a privately held Prosper Petroleum Ltd to build a multimillion steam-assisted gravity drainage oil sands facility near Fort McMurray, Alberta.
  • In November 2013, Polish firm PKN Orlen S.A. acquired Cardium-focused light oil producer TriOil Resoucres Ltd in Calgary
  • Polish billionaire Jan Kulczyk acquired Windstar Resources Ltd.

Perhaps investing in Canadian light oil producers may be a viable answer.  If the pipeline in Ukraine remains closed, the US could decide to export oil to Europe. If that happens, the US will have a shortfall of oil and will need to turn to Canada for light oil production. This should benefit Canadian oil and gas companies and those who invest in them.

All in all, the oil and gas industry is bound to see some interesting turn of events in the months ahead.

Economic Impact of Unconventional Oil and Gas Production

Economic Impact of Unconventional Oil and Gas Production

It has taken millions of years for the ancient organic matter trapped within North America’s geological formations to become the crude oil and natural gas used today.

These naturally formed reservoirs of carbon and hydrogen are easy to extract with minimal damage to the environment.  They can be extracted using “conventional” drilling and extracting methods that use natural pressure.

However, many of these oil and gas reservoirs are in decline. Thirty years ago finding oil in North America was not difficult; it was abundant. Nowadays, on the other hand, oil is hard to locate and more costly to extract.

To meet the rising demands, the world has turned to unconventional methods of oil and gas production. All of these strategies impact our world today.

The Growing Demand For Oil and Gas

In 2011, Canada produced more than 2.1 million barrels of oil per day. Even that large amount is not sufficient to meet the country’s demands.

Over the past 20 years, the demand for oil has dramatically risen; making crude oil one of the most sought after, actively traded, commodities in the world.

In fact, it is predicted that the global demand for oil will rise by 14 million barrels per day and will reach a demand for 101 million barrels a day in 2035.

With the decline of conventional resources, to bridge the gap between supply and demand, Canada and the US are exploring and developing unconventional production methods.

Unconventional Oil and Gas Production

Canada is fortunate to have the oil sands of Northern Alberta. And although Alberta’s oil sands are the world’s second-largest source of unconventional oil, this vast unconventional source of oil has many benefits and downfalls.

For one, extracting oil from sand is an expensive process. The sands are located in a remote area of Canada that is difficult to access.  Skilled workers must be brought in from other areas of Canada, which also adds to the productions costs.

The oil sands continue to be a source of controversy.  Environmental activists such as Greenpeace and Pembina Institute have increasing concerns of ecological harm, as well as the effects of global warming because of the greenhouse gases emitted during the process.

In the United States, the resurgence in oil and gas production is beginning to redraw the global energy map.  For one thing, fracking has become an “energy game changer”.

New emerging technologies are unlocking access to light, tight oil and shale gas resources.  As a result, this unconventional form of oil and gas production is changing the role of North America in global energy trade, and influencing the prices of gas and electricity in the US.  Prices have dropped substantially, giving the industry a competitive edge.

This unprecedented growth of shale production makes the US the largest liquids producer worldwide.  In 2012, of all natural gas production, shale production was 39% in the US and 15% in Canada.

According to a joint US Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Advanced Resources International (ARI) study released in June of 2013 – although a dozen other countries have conducted exploratory test wells – Canada and the US are the only major producers of commercially viable natural gas from shale formations in the world.

Outside of North America, China has registered commercially viable productions of shale gas; however shale contributes to less than 1% of China’s total natural gas production.

Unconventional Oil and Gas Production

The ability to unlock new types of resources (such as light tight oil (LTO) and ultra-deepwater fields) and to improve recovery rates in existing fields shows promising signs. Each year, the amount of oil that remains to be produced is on the rise.

Are Our Oil Troubles Over?

New oil production methods and resources must be discovered. The level of success with LTO needs to be replicated and unconventional resources need to be discovered throughout the country.

For example, the Lorraine Formation in the St. Lawrence Lowlands is predominantly unconventional gas silt and is considered an available resource, but no estimates are available at this time.

Shale gas resources have also been identified in Western Canada, Quebec, the Maritimes and a very small area in Southern Ontario.  Extensive exploration is being conducted to quantify the potential of these resources however sustained production is only occurring from the Horn River Basin in northeast British Columbia and a small field of shallow shale gas in the Wildemere region of east central Alberta.

It is crucial to continue the exploration and advancement of technology in this industry, as the economic impact of unconventional oil and gas production is too beneficial to ignore.