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New study doubles estimate of BC gas resources

A new joint report on the shale-gas potential of Northeastern British Columbia’s (BC) Horn River Basin more than doubles a previous assessment of gas resources within the province.

Location of unconventional resources currently recognized in British Columbia. Click to enlarge.

The report released by Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) and British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines (BC MEM) titled “Ultimate Potential for Unconventional Natural Gas in Northeastern British Columbia’s Horn River Basin” is the first publicly released probability based resource assessment of a Canadian shale basin.

The report says the ultimate potential for marketable unconventional shale gas in the Horn River Basin is 78 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), including three Tcf of discovered resources and 75 Tcf of undiscovered resources. The Horn River Basin is part of the larger Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB).

Placing the Horn River numbers in context, the NEB currently estimates that there is 197 Tcf of conventional and unconventional natural gas remaining in the WCSB—although this number does not take into account known but as-yet-unassessed unconventional gas resources.

The estimate of total remaining conventional and unconventional natural gas in Northeast BC available for future demand is 109 Tcf. That includes 78 Tcf of shale gas as well as 31 Tcf of remaining natural gas resources identified in a joint assessment of conventional natural gas resources in Northeast BC. The conventional gas assessment was released by the NEB and BC Ministry of Energy and Mines in 2006.

According to the new report on unconventional gas resources, the medium-case estimate of 78 Tcf for Horn River shale gas is the most realistic scenario. However, the study produced a range of numbers for shale gas potential in the Horn River Basin with the low estimate being 61 Tcf and the high being 96 Tcf.

Remaining Ultimate Potential by Province
ProvinceRemaining Ultimate Potential (Tcf)
Alberta 78 NA 78
British Columbia 31 78 109
Saskatchewan 4 NA 4
Southern Territories 16 NA 6
Total 119 78 197

The NEB is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada’s energy industry. Its purpose is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest. The BC Ministry of Energy and Mines manages the responsible exploration and development of British Columbia’s energy sector.




I would rather that they turn the natural gas into synthetic fuels than use it for tar sands production.


It is $$$ driven. One barrel equivalent can extract up to 3 barrel from tar sands. With a 3x multiplier, profits are much better. Total pollution may be 4x but who cares.


Read about the amazing LFTR thorium nuclear reactors here: This low cost pollution-free energy source was proven in the 1960s but abandoned because it couldn't be used to build bombs. LFTRs do not produce long term radio-active waste. LFTRs at the Tar Sands could produce the desired heat energy to extract the oil without creating pollution.

Nick Lyons

@Roy H:

Or build LFTRS for cheap electrons and run electric cars; leave the tar sands alone.


That sounds like a good idea.


But then if you run an electric car forget about a roadtrip, they're only good for short distances, often in cities where public transport is a good alternative anyway (as out green friends claim). The electric car in this sense could just kill off public transport. You also have to provide the charging infrastructure which means littering our streets with charging points everywhere, just when engineers are thinking about how to reduce street clutter.

Replacing the vehicle pool will take years anyway. Ramping up replacements along the lines of a scrappage scheme with subsidies would just be huge waste of resources and taxpayers money often only to the benefit of those who can afford to buy themselves sustaibable sumgliness - the wallet ecowarriors. Others can't and will need to rely on older cars for a good while yet. So its better to make older cars run greener with GTL and BTL fuels and retrofitted hydrogen fuelling systems (see Cella Energy).

I think in the end the vehicle and fuel mix will become highly diversified, so that the transport ecology can better withstand geopolitical shocks. Electric on its own is just a red herring to make us feel good about ourselves.


But then if you run an electric car forget about a roadtrip, they're only good for short distances

A problem that's easily solved by reality or creative thinking.

First the reality: Studies have shown 90% of the trips the average American drives are within the range of a 100km BEV.

For those rare longer trips there are:

fast chargers;

battery switching stations;

pusher trailers;

and car rentals - face it there's more than enough companies to keep the prices really low.


Scott.... the transition will probably go from : (1. Improved ICE & HEVs), to (2. PHEVs) and to the final (3. BEVs) solution. Three decades 1997/98 to 2027/28 or so may be required.

There are no doubts that future batteries will eventually go from current 200 Wh/Kg to 1000+ Wh/Kg and that e-range will go from 150+ Km to 750+ Km, making them the most efficient highway and city e-vehicles. With plug-in battery modules, you may elect to use as many or as few modules as required. The extra modules could stay home and be used to store solar or FC energy for your residence and/or for the occasional long trips. Alternatively, you could rent a few extra modules for long trips only.


FFV/PHEV could really reduce fuel consumption. Add a blend of synthetic fuel and we could do without middle eastern oil all together.


Undoubtedly this is a boom time for people in the automotive and energy business. The next gen Prius, Leaf and Volt along with Tesla S will lead the inevitable transition to BEV. But along the way we can expect to see a wide variety of liquid fuels CTL, BTL etc.

The cellulosic industry is fast making strides toward their goal of $1.00/g ethanol...

ALL these solutions will play a role in the emerging energy portfolio which will end the need to import foreign oil - including tar sands. The LFTR seems a sensible direction for conventional nuclear. There are also the progress from LENR like Rossi and good growth in PEM and SOFCs.

The adoption of a full EV light duty fleet is inevitable. But with the diversification of renewable energy resources we will see major shifts in energy monopolies. There will be disruptive expansion. Change is good.


It is what we do over the next 10 years that will tell the story. We can wait for EVs to save the day and 10 years from now less than 1% of the cars on the road are EV. Or we could develop synthetic fuels and blend them in with petroleum based refined product and promote PHEV/HEV and get some real gain out of the battery resources.


From sales of Prius and the introduction of so many new PHEVs - it seems the automakers know what's ahead. Getting the public to participate is only a matter of getting them to see the fiscal benefit to ending oil. As it continues to rise in cost - the people are getting the message.


We can add up all the HEVs over the last 10 years and it is just over 1% of the cars on the road and they only get a bit better mileage. I don't think that even phased how much oil we use.

Account Deleted

Making people aware towards the EV is not a problem but the them similar situation will arise if all the cars on the roads will be replaced by EV the the old discarded batteries will pose a potential problem as there will not be sufficient recycling plants to recycle them.

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