The use of horizontal drilling along with hydraulic fracturing have expanded the ability of the producers to economically recover crude oil and natural gas from low-permeability geologic plays-particularly shale plays. Shale gas production did not occur on a large scale until Mitchell Energy and Development Corporation experimented during the 1980s and 1990s to make deep shale gas production a commercial reality in the Barnett Shale in North-Central Texas. Then the companies aggressively entered the play as the success is apparent, so that by 2005, Barnett shale was alone producing about 0.5 trillion cubic feet of shale gas per year.
As producers gained confidence in the ability to produce natural gas profitably in the Barnett Shale, with confirmation provided by results from the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas, they began pursuing other shale plays, including Haynesville, Marcellus, Woodford, Eagle Ford, and others. Although the shale gas development has been happening for the past three to four decades, it was not until the past 15 years that it has seen as a potential game changer for the U.S. gas market.
The proliferation of activity into new shale plays has increased dry shale gas production in the United States from 1.0 trillion cubic feet in 2006 to 4.8 trillion cubic feet, or 23 percent of total U.S. dry natural gas production, in 2010.Oil production from shale plays, particularly Bakken in North Dakota and Montana has also grown up rapidly the recent years.
The oil and gas industry in Canada was founded upon production of oil and natural gas from conventional reservoirs, because they are the easiest to get out of the ground. However, conventional reservoirs are the smallest portion of Canadas total oil and gas resources. Ironically, what are referred to as unconventional reservoirs contain a far greater proportion of Canadas hydrocarbon resources. The terms conventional and unconventional actually refer to the reservoir rock quality because oil and gas cannot be distinguished.
Industry needs to develop unconventional resources, such as tight oil, tight gas and shale gas, in order to have a continued supply of oil and gas now and into the future. Unconventional gas already accounts for more than 25% of the Canadian natural gas supply. Most of the activity directed at new production in Canada is unconventional so it is fair to say that unconventional has become conventional. Currently, between Alberta and British Columbia over 175,000 wells have been stimulated using hydraulic fracturing.
Canadian regulators and the natural gas industry are focused on the protection of surface and ground water and the mitigation of risk. All Canadian jurisdictions regulate the interface between water and the natural gas industry, and the application of evolving hydraulic fracturing techniques for unconventional gas development is no exception.
This report discusses about North American shale gas plays by giving the details of geological setting, resource estimate, reservoir properties, companies operating in that shale area, current activity, key company information and competitive landscape.