According to the EIA, globally, there are more than 7,000 trillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas resources. This is equivalent to over 50 years of the world’s current energy demand.
With US shale gas dominating the headlines of the energy media recently, Canadian natural gas has become somewhat overshadowed. Gas industry followers, however, are aware of the dynamics of Canada’s natural gas fundamentals and how they have, and will continue to, evolve.
As the fifth largest producer of natural gas in the world, the Canada natural gas industry is rated highly for its innovation and use of cutting-edge technology aimed at minimizing environmental impacts. Today, the global economy depends on sustainable, reliable energy to drive the economy and provide the goods and services the world needs as global energy demands continue to rise.
Nonetheless, Canada, with its large quantity of natural gas, may be called on to develop more of the world’s output.
According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Canada’s shale output stands at about 335,000 bpd and should grow to 420,000 bpd in the next ten years. Those figures could rise further should the pace of output increase as activity picks up and knowledge of the fields improves. Canada, outside of the United States, is the first country to see large-scale development of shale resources. China, Russia and Argentina also have shale reserves, but have yet to overcome bureaucracies to full commercial development.
Much like the United States, Canada offers many of the same advantages that allow oil companies to launch shale operations including factors such as: numerous private energy firms with appetite for risk; deep capital markets; infrastructure to transport oil; low population in regions that contain shale reserves; and plentiful water to pump into shale wells.
Further, advancements in hydraulic fracturing and multi-well drilling has allowed companies to drill multiple wells from a single location which also reduces the environmental footprint of drilling activities.
In Alberta, where much of the nation’s shale reserves are located and conditions for drilling Canada’s natural gas are prime, officials are counting on shale to lure new investments.
Alberta’s energy minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd says: “Increasingly we are going to see light tight oil and liquids-rich natural gas forming a key part of Alberta’s energy future.”
In Alberta and abroad, as the demand for energy rises so does concern over climate change. Scientists are convinced the climate has been warming over the past one hundred years, and the pace at which the earth is warming is accelerating.
Many of these scientists also agree that the best option to prevent further damage is to reduce the use of oil, carbon and other fossil fuels, and to transition to renewable forms of energy, such as natural gas, as well as solar and wind power.
The need for an urgent transition to alternative forms of energy is imminent, and Canada’s natural gas industry, with its innovative and abundant solutions to safely develop sustainable energy, is at the forefront of maintaining the world’s standards.