Canada sees new potential for shale gas

Study finds Liard basin in the country's northwest one of the largest in the world.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  March 17, 2016 at 8:48 AM
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CALGARY, Alberta, March 17 (UPI) -- A federal and provincial study finds a shale natural gas basin in the northwest region of Canada is one of the largest known reserves in the world.

The federal National Energy Board, alongside its regional provincial counterparts, published a study on the Liard shale basin that shows it holds an estimated 219 trillion cubic feet of marketable natural gas, making it the second-largest basin in Canada and one of the largest in the world.

"This study reinforces the fact that Canada has a very large natural gas resource base at its disposal, and Canadians will be well supplied with natural gas for as long as they need it," NEB Chairman and CEO Peter Watson. "Studies like this one also enable all governments to be better informed when building policy around resource development and energy markets."

Canada in 2014 used about 3.2 trillion cubic feet of natural, meaning the Liard basin by itself holds enough gas to meet the current average demand for more than 60 years.

The Canadian subsidiary of Chevron started production from its discoveries in the Liard basin more than 16 years ago. Chevron plans to tap the Liard basin to feed the planned Kitimat liquefied natural gas project in British Columbia.

Canada relies heavily on the North American market for exports. With Asian economic growth outpacing that of North America, the government is keen on tapping into new foreign markets for gas with port facilities like Kitimat.

The NEB said existing pipeline infrastructure associated with the Liard basin means the long-term prospects are good for shale development.

"This certainty makes our province an attractive location for investors which means long-term economic activity and jobs for British Columbians for years to come," Rich Coleman, the gas development minister for British Columbia, said in a statement.

Canada's energy plans have frustrated First Nations that are concerned the development of oil, gas and associated infrastructure may harm the ecosystems upon which they depend.

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