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Apache discovers massive shale gas field in B.C.

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Apache discovers massive shale gas field in B.C.

Reuters Jun 15, 2012 – 2:35 PM ET


Courtesy of Apache Canada Ltd.

An Apache Canada LNG facility building site in Kitimat, B.C.

CALGARY, Alberta – Apache Corp has made what it believes may be one of the world’s largest shale-gas discoveries in a remote corner of northeastern British Columbia, a massive field containing as much as 48 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas.

The company has drilled three wells into its holdings in the Liard Basin in British Columbia, just south of where the province’s northern border meets the borders of the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Those wells tapped into a massive shale-gas reservoir that alone could supply U.S. needs for almost two years.

“This is probably the best shale gas reservoir in the world,” John Bedingfield, the company’s vice president of worldwide exploration, said at a company presentation on Thursday.

Only one of the three wells drilled in the region was treated with the multiple-stage hydraulic fracturing process that has been key to unlocking North America’ prolific shale-gas reserves. That well, which was “fracked” six times, delivered 21.3 million cubic feet of gas per day over its first thirty days of production, which Apache said was the most prolific shale-gas test well ever drilled.

Shale gas discoveries have transformed North America’s natural-gas industry. The massive fields have created a surplus of the fuel that has driven prices down to 10-year lows and sparked the creation of a nascent liquefied natural gas industry as producers look to tap high-paying markets in Asia and elsewhere.

Apache owns 430,000 acres of exploration lands surrounding its new find and its wells have already been connected to pipelines in the region.

However the field could also supply an LNG export facility the company and partners Encana Corp and EOG Resources Inc are planning to build at Kitimat on British Columbia’s northern coast.

Bedingfield said the company will not rush to develop the field while gas prices remain low but called the field “a huge resource for the future.”

The find was one of several the company detailed for investors on Thursday. Along with its Liard field, the company said its 580,000 acres of land in the Mississipian Lime field in Kansas and Nebraska could contain as much as 2 billion barrels of oil while its holding in Montana’s Williston Basin may hold another 1 billion barrels.

As well, it’s targeting as much as 1.3 billion barrels of oil in Alaska’s Cook Inlet and 1.4 billion barrels from its holding off the shore of Kenya. It will drill in both regions later this year.

Apache said its holdings in western Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle could also hold another 5.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent while the Permian Basin in west Texas and New Mexico hold 3.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Analysts said Apache, a company that has often focused on growing by acquisition, will now focus on building production by drilling its existing properties worldwide.

“Apache has typically … been viewed as an M&A driven company,” said Rob Cordray, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities. “But this shows a tremendous amount of organic growth potential. There’s a huge drilling inventory for these guys.”

Apache shares were up US$1.09, 1.3%, at US$87.10 by early afternoon in New York.


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Without a cash cow of that magnitude, the province is screwed if it ever loses its crime hub status. I think our colonial masters in Ontario and Quebec are going to be reluctant to let us exploit this as they did with offshore oil.

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Anyone concerned at all about the damage that fracking does? Isn't fracking known to cause earthquakes? Looks like Northeast B.C is the latest victim of the Harper Energy policy. :sadno:

Fracking can cause earthquakes, but oil and gas extraction may cause more .

Geologists and politicians have been arguing for several years about whether hydraulic fracturing of shale to release natural gas can cause earthquakes. Finally, a comprehensive study has settled the question: Yes, fracking can. However, the number of earthquakes linked to fracking operations is very small; many more temblors are linked to conventional oil and natural gas extraction.

Furthermore, the greatest risk of earthquakes due to fracking does not come from drilling into deep shale or cracking it with pressurized water and chemicals.

Rather, it comes from pumping the wastewater from those operations back down into deep sandstone or other formations for permanent disposal, instead of storing it in tanks or open ponds at the surface.

In January, wastewater injection was blamed for earthquakes that had just occurred in Youngstown, Ohio, on Christmas Eve and again on New Year's Eve, measuring 2.7 and 4.0 on the Richter scale, respectively. Wastewater injection is also commonly used during conventional oil and gas production.

The National Research Council report, “Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies,” was released today. It documents earthquakes associated with a full range of underground energy technologies, but doesn’t determine any kind of “rate” at which they might occur. It associates a number of earthquakes with conventional oil and gas wells, more so when those wells are somewhat drained and are injected with water or gas to force out the remaining, hard-to-get fuel. The report also links earthquakes to geothermal energy (tapping into hot underground reservoirs of steam or water) and so-called enhanced geothermal (forcing water into hot underground rock, to turn it to steam).

Two related technologies

Two related technologies were investigated as well: wastewater injection, as noted, and carbon sequestration and storage. Only one sequestration project exists worldwide thus far, so data for the technique are meager. The report includes a map showing the sites of induced quakes.

Overall, technologies that basically balance the amount of fluid removed or injected, such as conventional oil wells, induced fewer seismic events than those that involve net injection or extraction.

The “two techniques with the largest imbalance are carbon sequestration and wastewater injection,” said Murray Hitzman, professor of economic geology at the Colorado School of Mines and chairman of the committee that wrote the report, at a press briefing. The two techniques increase subsurface pressure across large areas, so there is a greater chance of running across a fault, which could lead to an earthquake, Hitzman said.

The report notes that enhanced geothermal might also create an imbalance. In recent years several worrisome earthquakes have been linked to geothermal operations, including a 3.4 magnitude temblor in Basel, Switzerland, and smaller quakes close to an operation known as The Geysers in Santa Rosa, Calif.

The committee work was motivated by federal and state agencies that regulate various aspects of underground injection work, which seem to have little standard data or analyses to draw from. Most troubling, the committee found, was that no set of industry “best practices” for minimizing the risk of earthquakes exists for any of the technologies, which in turn makes it difficult for regulators to establish sensible rules. The committee strongly recommends that energy companies work with the Department of Energy to establish such practices. It notes that best practices are important because all indications are that more and more underground extraction of energy will occur in the future.

(Source: Scientific American)

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You know what the ironic thing is about consumption rates these days? The largest shale gas reserve found to date will only supply the US for 2 measly years.


As Sedin's 6th Sense has already pointed out at least there will be disruption and destruction of a habitat rich with aquatic life, plantlife, and wildlife.

I'm going to celebrate by purchasing a whole bunch of Christmas lights and leaving them plugged in for the rest of the year.

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You know what the ironic thing is about consumption rates these days? The largest shale gas reserve found to date will only supply the US for 2 measly years.


As Sedin's 6th Sense has already pointed out at least there will be disruption and destruction of a habitat rich with aquatic life, plantlife, and wildlife.

I'm going to celebrate by purchasing a whole bunch of Christmas lights and leaving them plugged in for the rest of the year.

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The comments below the actual article sicken me even more:

"This is a good location as an environmental test case."

"Go back to the occupy movement already." - In response to a comment that had concerns about the environmental impact.

Then again, this is an article coming from the National Post, but at the same time, it just goes to show how many idiots we have in this country.

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Provincial Liberals declare natural gas clean energy source


VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Jun. 21 2012, 10:27 PM EDT

Last updated

Thursday, Jun. 21 2012, 10:42 PM EDT

The B.C. Liberal government is deeming natural gas a “clean” source of energy to clear the way for the development of a liquefied natural gas extraction project in northern British Columbia, reversing a key environmental policy of the Gordon Campbell era.

In a speech to a business audience Thursday, Premier Christy Clark said natural gas will be classified as a clean fuel when used to power liquefied natural gas extraction plants in northern B.C.

The Premier did not provide further details on how B.C. could meet its goals for clean energy and greenhouse-gas reduction were such power plants to be built.

However, later in the day Energy Minister Richard Coleman said the definition of “clean” in the Clean Energy Act would be amended to include certain kinds of natural gas-fired plants. That is significant because that law commits B.C. to get 93 per cent of its electricity from clean energy sources.

“We can do a regulation that allows us to clarify it so it works under our definition, and, thereby, not affect our 93 per cent commitment to clean energy in B.C. that’s one of the requirements that affects how we buy and produce power,” he said.

The plan was hailed by the business community but left a leading environmentalist “incredulous and flabbergasted.”

In a speech to the Business Council of B.C., Ms. Clark promised a new regulation that will define natural gas as clean energy “under certain circumstances” in order to bolster the LNG industry Ms. Clark has seen as providing jobs and revenues central to her jobs plan.

Ms. Clark, seeking political traction ahead of the 2013 election in which her Liberals will seek a fourth term, has set out the target of having three LNG plants operating in B.C. by 2020 – a goal that, if achieved, would generate billions in investment, thousands of jobs and $1-billion a year in ongoing government revenues.

The Premier said the regulation will only apply to natural gas used to support LNG development in the north, won’t change the definition of power use for the rest of the province and will only apply to power generation that meets world-leading environmental standards on emissions.

“This is consistent with our comprehensive natural gas strategy and is also consistent with our efforts to use renewable energy,” Ms. Clark said. “We continue, absolutely, to be committed to making sure we are using local, renewable energy.”

Ms. Clark later told reporters the change is needed to “power up” the LNG industry, and will also create LNG products for such markets as China that will diminish their reliance on coal and “other dirty sources of energy.”

NDP energy critic John Horgan said the announcement is an on-the-fly reversal of five years of energy policy, and leaves unanswered the question of how the province would account for the additional emissions of greenhouse gases from such power plants.

The BC Chamber of Commerce hailed Ms. Clark’s move as a “timely announcement” because BC Hydro does not have the current capacity to feed proposed LNG plants such as those in Kitimat.

But Karen Campbell, staff lawyer for Ecojustice, said she was “incredulous and flabbergasted” at the announcement because it does nothing to change the impact of natural gas. “It’s like putting lipstick on a pig – like calling an apple an orange,” she said. “I can’t understand how you would think natural gas development would be conceived as clean energy.”

Mark Jaccard, a professor in resource and environmental management at Simon Fraser University, said he was skeptical about Ms. Clark’s assertion that natural gas will decrease greenhouse-gas emissions from coal use in China.

Prof. Jaccard said in an e-mail that “I work with the leading global energy modelers, and none of them find this result. She has no evidence to the contrary and yet makes up this story that natural gas exports are somehow miraculously clean.”

Mr. Coleman said liquefied natural gas takes a substantial amount of electricity.

“If we don’t have an affordable source of electricity for liquefied natural gas, we’re not going to attract the investment we need to make this thing successful in a big way for B.C.,” he said.

Asked how natural gas could suddenly be declared clean, Mr. Coleman said, “Some of us always thought it was clean as a transitional fuel. There was always this debate which has taken place in and out of government.”


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