Developing Canadian shale to meet Asian energy needs

By Pat Maguire and Vivek Warrier, Bennett Jones LLP

In the past few years the global oil and gas industry has committed billions of dollars to develop shale hydrocarbon opportunities in Canada, primarily in the province of British Columbia. Two opportunities in northeastern British Columbia have garnered interest from international producers as an abundant source of natural gas reserves, relatively free of political risk and located near the closest North American port to Asia, which can save about 60 hours of transpacific sailing time, relative to ports in California.

Pat Maguire Partner Bennett Jones LLP
Pat Maguire
Bennett Jones LLP

The first, the Horn River Basin play, covers roughly 1.28 million hectares, with estimated marketable reserves of 78 trillion cubic feet of gas. Although much of the production information is still confidential, it is already seen as one of the leading shale gas plays in North America.

The second, the Montney play, is similarly expansive, encompassing seven municipalities in the Peace River Regional District. Exploration companies have spent more than C$2 billion (US$1.9 billion) to acquire drilling rights from the government and as of July 2009, 234 horizontal wells were producing an an aggregate volume of 376 million cubic feet per day. Marketable reserve in the Montney are estimated at upwards of 55 trillion cubic feet of gas.

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Pat Maguire and Vivek Warrier are partners in the Calgary office of Bennett Jones LLP, a leading Canadian law firm with over 400 lawyers in offices throughout Canada and in the UAE.


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