Oil & Natural Gas

Northwest British Columbia is part of a geological hydrocarbon bearing area known as the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin and covers an area of 1.4 million square kilometers. This Sedimentary basin holds one of the largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world and supplies most of the North America market.
Natural gas develops over millions of years from the carbon and hydrogen molecules of ancient organic matter trapped within Canada’s geological formations. Natural gas consists primarily of methane, but also ethane, propane, butane, pentanes and heavier hydrocarbons.
As an abundant energy resource, an affordable energy choice, a safe and reliable fuel and the cleanest-burning hydrocarbon, natural gas is a foundational element in the future energy supply mix.

Types of Natural Gas Extraction

Natural gas comes from both ‘conventional’ (easier to produce) and ‘unconventional’ (more difficult to produce) geological formations. The key difference between “conventional” and “unconventional” natural gas is the manner, ease and cost associated with extracting the resource.


Exploration for conventional gas has been almost the sole focus of the oil and gas industry since it began nearly 100 years ago. Conventional gas is typically “free gas” trapped in multiple, relatively small, porous zones in various naturally occurring rock formations such as carbonates, sandstones, and siltstones.


However, most of the growth in supply from today’s recoverable gas resources is found in unconventional formations. Unconventional gas reservoirs include tight gas, coal bed methane, gas hydrates, and shale gas. The technological breakthroughs in horizontal drilling and fracturing that have made shale and other unconventional gas supplies commercially viable have revolutionized Canada’s natural gas supply picture.



Western Canada Sedimentary Basin

The Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin is a vast sedimentary basin underlying 1,400,000 kms2 of Western Canada including southwestern Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, Alberta, northeastern British Columbia and the southwest corner of the Northwest Territories. It consists of a massive wedge of sedimentary rock extending from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Canadian Shield in the east. The Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin contains one of the world's largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas and supplies much of the North American market, producing more than 16,000,000,000 450,000,000 m3 per day of gas in 2000. It is estimated to have 4 trillion km3 of marketable gas remaining (discovered and undiscovered), which represents about two thirds of Canadian gas reserves.

Cordova Embayment

The Cordova Embayment covers an area of 379,000 hectares and sits approximately 150 kilometers northeast of Fort Nelson in far northeastern corner of the province. The area lies east of the well-established Devonian Jean Marie gas production and deeper exploration targets such as the Slave Point and Pine Point (Keg River) carbonates. Over 320 wells have been drilled in the basin since the early 1960s; most of those in the Helmet, Helmet North and Midwinter West areas. Since 2008, approximately 20 of those wells have targeted shale gas.

Montney Play Trend

The Montney play region is now one of the most active natural gas plays in North America. The Triassic Montney is a thick, regionally charged formation of unconventional tight gas and shale gas distributed over an area extending from north central Alberta to the northwest of the city of Fort St. John in northeast British Columbia. The fairway covers approximately 2.6 million hectares in the South Peace region of northeast BC and includes major facies of fine-grained shoreface, shelf siltstone to shale, fine-grained sandstone turbidites, and an organic-rich phosphatic shale. Development of the Montney continues to evolve as oil and gas producers push drilling activity further northward in the play region.

Liard Basin

Straddling the borders of the Northwest and Yukon Territories with the Province of British Columbia, the Liard Basin and Fold Belt region remains a relatively unexplored area situated on the eastern margin of the Cordilleran Fold and Thrust Belt. In northeast British Columbia, the region covers an area of approximately 1.25 million hectares and contains over five kilometers of sedimentary strata of Cambrian to Upper Cretaceous age. Potential hydrocarbon objectives occur in the Devonian Dunedin/Nahanni Formation, the Mississippian Banff, Debolt, and Mattson formations, the Permo-Pennsylvanian Kindle and Fantasque formations, the Triassic Toad Formation, and the CretaceousChinkeh and Scatter formations. The Nahanni holds significant potential in dolomitized reservoirs in the structural belt. The Debolt, Mattson, Kindle, Fantasque, and possibly the Triassic Grayling and Toad formations are potential objectives in structural closures on the Bovie Lake structure on the margin of the basin. The Banff and Debolt formations are also potential objectives in stratigraphic traps on the platform to the east.

Horn River Basin

The Horn River Basin covers an area of approximately 1.31 million hectares within the Fort Nelson/Northern Plains region. It lies east of the KledoBovie Lake Fault System and extends east to the Slave Point Platform . Prior to recent shale gas interest, approximately 300 wells had been drilled in the basin mainly targeting carbonate plays of the Mississippian Debolt to Middle Devonian Keg River/Pine Point. Major and intermediate producers approved for special project recognition (experimental scheme approval) over the last few years have been testing potential reservoirs in the Upper Devonian/Lower Mississippian Exshaw shale and the Muskwa/Otter Park members of the Middle Devonian successful in unlocking the potential of the organic production from the area.



BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Responsible for Housing

British Columbia is poised to become a global energy powerhouse. From clean, green hydro, wind and biomass power to world-class natural gas resources, our province’s advantages promise an exciting future as a reliable supplier of energy products and services to international markets and climate-conscious consumers. The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Responsible for Housing has set out a plan in order to achieve this.

BC Oil and Gas Commission

The BC Oil and Gas Commission regulates oil and gas activities for the benefit of British Columbians and is responsible for overseeing oil and gas operations including exploration, development, pipeline transportation and reclamation. As an efficient, single-window agency, the commission is helping the oil and gas industries grow and prosper by streamlining the applications and approval processes while maintaining provincial environmental standards. The Commission’s core roles include reviewing and assessing applications for industry activity, consulting with First Nations, ensuring industry complies with provincial legislation and cooperating with partner agencies. The public interest is protected through the objectives of ensuring public safety, protecting the environment, conserving petroleum resources and ensuring equitable participation in production.

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explores, develops and produces natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. CAPP’s member companies produce more than 90 per cent of Canada’s natural gas and crude oil. CAPP's associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream crude oil and natural gas industry. Together CAPP's members and associate members are an important part of a national industry with revenues of about $100 billion-a-year.

CAPP’s mission is to enhance the economic sustainability of the Canadian upstream petroleum industry in a safe and environmentally and socially responsible manner, through constructive engagement and communication with governments, the public and stakeholders in the communities in which they operate.

Canadian Gas Association

The Canadian Gas Association is the voice of Canada’s natural gas delivery industry and its members are distribution companies, transmission companies, equipment manufacturers and other service providers.  CGA works with our industry to:

  • Build the understanding of our product, natural gas;
  • Advance efficiency and innovation in the energy and economy discourse;
  • Drive for improved regulatory engagement;
  • Ensure continuous improvements in safety and integrity management; and
  • Pursue partnerships to better deliver energy services to Canadians.

We also develop educational information and organize training schools, workshops, seminars and conferences. Finally, we sponsor and participate in a number of forums, partnerships and coalitions to foster dialogue on energy policy and achieve a better understanding of natural gas.

Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas

The Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources is a formal not-for-profit society, facilitating the factual and collaborative exchange of unconventional resource knowledge. The organization has been extremely active in encouraging the development of our country's unconventional hydrocarbon resources, focusing on: Natural Gas from Coal; Tight Gas Sands and Carbonates; Shale Gas; Gas Hydrates; and Light Tight Oil. Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas provides the media with information about these unconventional resource sources and strives to increase communication between the unconventional resource industry and the provincial and federal governments, stakeholders and First Nations.

Energy Services British Columbia

Energy Services BC is the voice of the British Columbia oil and gas service sector and has been serving the industry for over 30 years. We are a member-based non-profit organization representing a wide variety of safe, efficient and productive BC service sector companies.  Through the continuous support of member companies, Energy Services BC provides the foundation for the development of a thriving energy services sector.

The National Energy Board

The National Energy Board (NEB) is an independent federal agency established in 1959 by the Parliament of Canada to regulate international and interprovincial aspects of the oil, gas and electric utility industries. The purpose of the NEB is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest. These principles guide NEB staff to carry out and interpret the organization's regulatory responsibilities.

Petroleum Services Association of Canada

The Petroleum Services Association of Canada is the national trade association representing the service, supply and manufacturing sectors within the upstream petroleum industry. PSAC represents a diverse range of almost 260 member companies, employing more than 65,000 people and contracting almost exclusively to oil and gas exploration and production companies. PSAC member companies represent over 80 per cent of the business volume generated in the petroleum services industry.



AltaGas Corporation

AltaGas Corporation's vision is to be a leading North American energy infrastructure company with a focus in Canada and the United States. Its strategy to achieve this vision is simple: capitalize on the supply and demand dynamic for natural gas and power by owning and operating assets in gas, power and utilities in places that provide a strategic competitive advantage. AltaGas operates physical assets and provide essential services to customers who produce and consume natural gas and power.


Apache Corporation is one of the world's top independent oil and gas exploration and production companies. Their mission is to grow a profitable global exploration and production company in a safe and environmentally responsible manner for the long-term benefit of their shareholders. Apache has 7.5 million gross acres across the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Their acreage base provides a significant inventory of both low-risk development drilling opportunities in and around a number of Apache fields and higher-risk, higher-reward exploration opportunities. At year-end 2011, Apache’s Canadian region represented approximately 26 percent of their estimated proved reserves. In 2011, they drilled or participated in 143 wells and plan on drilling 170 more in 2012.

ARC Resources Ltd.

Formed in 1996, ARC's original vision was to become the premier “blue chip” conventional oil and gas company in Canada as measured by quality of assets, management expertise and long-term investor returns. ARC’s assets in northeast British Columbia and northwest Alberta are located in the tight gas Montney resource play. The Montney is recognized as one of the best tight gas plays in North America, and ARC’s land holdings in the region are world class. ARC was an early entrant in the Montney, and pioneered the use of multi-stage fracturing for horizontal completions; a technology that has proved instrumental in unlocking the play.
Today, ARC is the third largest operator in the region and through its expertise has expanded its land holdings to over 400 net sections. Key areas include Dawson, Parkland and Sunrise/Septimus. The Montney is a key growth area with great potential for continued reserves and production additions. ARC is positioned to meaningfully grow gas and liquids (propane, butane, pentane) production in the near-term.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. is one of the largest independent crude oil and natural gas producers in the world. The Company continually targets cost effective alternatives to develop our portfolio of projects and to deliver our defined growth plan, which enables us to generate significant value, even in challenging economic environments. Our balanced mix of natural gas, light oil, heavy oil, in situ oil sands production, oil sands mining and associated upgrading facilities provide us the means to grow our company in the long term.

Conoco Phillips

ConocoPhillips Canada is one of the country’s largest oil and natural gas production and exploration companies. ConocoPhillips became a top-three natural gas producer in Canada with the 2006 acquisition of Burlington Resources. The acquisition more than doubled the company’s reserves, wells and production in the region. Company operations are primarily located in Alberta and British Columbia, with some production in Saskatchewan. ConocoPhillips also owns a number of gas processing plants in the region. The focus areas include Deep Basin, Rimbey/O'Chiese, Central, Southern Plains, Foothills, Northern Plains and Kaybob/Edson.

Crew Energy Inc.

Crew Energy Inc. is a growth-oriented oil and natural gas producer, committed to the pursuit of sustainable per share growth through a balanced mix of financially responsible exploration and development, complemented by strategic acquisitions.
Crew's activities are concentrated in Alberta, northeast British Columbia and Saskatchewan and focus on the development and expansion of its core oil and liquids rich natural gas properties and exploration of its large undeveloped land base.

Delphi Energy

Delphi Energy Corp. is a Calgary-based company that explores, develops and produces oil and natural gas in Western Canada. The Company is well positioned for growth through the drill bit with a large inventory of development opportunities focused in the deep basin at its core areas of Bigstone, Hythe and Wapiti/Gold Creek in northwest Alberta.

Devon Energy

Devon Energy Corporation is a leading independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company. Devon's operations are focused onshore in the United States and Canada. They also own natural gas pipelines and treatment facilities in many of our producing areas, making us them of North America's larger processors of natural gas liquids.
The company's portfolio of oil and gas properties provides stable, environmentally responsible production and a platform for future growth. The company's production mix is about two-thirds natural gas and one-third oil and natural gas liquids, such as propane, butane and ethane. Devon produces about 2.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas each day – more than 3 percent of all the gas consumed in North America.


Encana is a leading North American energy producer that is focused on growing its strong portfolio of diverse resource plays producing natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids. By partnering with employees, community organizations and other businesses, Encana contributes to the strength and sustainability of the communities where it operates.

EOG Resources

EOG Resources Inc. is one of the largest independent (non-integrated) crude oil and natural gas companies in the United States with proved reserves in the United States, Canada, Trinidad, the United Kingdom and China. At December 31, 2011, EOG’s estimated net proved crude oil, condensate and natural gas liquids reserves were 745 million barrels and estimated net proved natural gas reserves were 7,851 billion cubic feet for a total of 2,054 million barrels of oil equivalent. Approximately 84 percent of these reserves on a crude oil equivalent basis were located in the United States, 9 percent in Canada, 6 percent in Trinidad and less than 1 percent in the United Kingdom and China. At year-end 2011, EOG had approximately 2,550 employees.

Exxon Mobile

ExxonMobil is the world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company. We hold an industry-leading inventory of global oil and gas resources. We are the world’s largest refiner and marketer of petroleum products, and our chemical company ranks among the world’s largest. We are also a technology company, applying science and innovation to find better, safer and cleaner ways to deliver the energy the world needs.

Forest Oil

Forest Oil was founded in northwestern Pennsylvania in 1916, under the principles of creative thinking and personal integrity and built through knowledge and judgment derived from experience. The company was incorporated in 1924, and has been publicly held since 1969. During their extensive history, Forest Oil has prospered and grown into one of the leading independent oil and gas exploration and production companies. Today the company and its subsidiaries are engaged in the exploration, acquisition, development, production and marketing of natural gas and crude oil internationally.

Imperial Oil

Imperial Oil Limited is an integrated oil company. The Company is engaged in the exploration for, and production and sale of, crude oil and natural gas. In Canada, it is a producer of crude oil and natural gas, a petroleum refiner and a marketer of petroleum products. Imperial Oil is also a producer of petrochemicals. The Company’s operates in three segments: Upstream, Downstream and Chemical. Upstream operations include the exploration for, and production of, conventional crude oil, natural gas, synthetic oil and bitumen. Downstream operations consist of the transportation and refining of crude oil, blending of refined products and the distribution and marketing of those products. Chemical operations consist of the manufacturing and marketing of various petrochemicals. Imperial Oil also owns and operates four refineries.

Murphy Oil Corporation

Murphy Oil Corporation is a worldwide oil and gas exploration and production company with marketing operations in the United States and the United Kingdom, including a refinery in Milford Haven, Wales. Business activities are conducted by wholly-owned subsidiaries while Murphy Oil Corporation acts as a holding company. Murphy Oil Company, Ltd., is engaged in crude oil and natural gas exploration and production and the extraction and sale of synthetic crude oil. MOCL's headquarters are located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Nabors Energy

The Nabors Energy companies own and operate approximately 513 land drilling and approximately 600land workover and well-servicing rigs in North America. Nabors' actively marketed offshore fleet consists of 40 platform rigs, 12 jack-up units and 4 barge rigs in the United States and multiple international markets. In addition, Nabors manufactures top drives and drilling instrumentation systems and provides comprehensive oilfield hauling, engineering, civil construction, logistics and facilities maintenance, and project management services. Nabors participates in most of the significant oil, gas and geothermal markets in the world.


Nexen Inc. is an upstream oil and gas company responsibly developing energy resources in some of the world’s most significant basins — including the UK North Sea, offshore West Africa, the Gulf of Mexico and Western Canada. Nexen is strategically focused on three businesses: conventional oil and gas, oil sands and shale gas. With a high-quality asset base and significant growth on the horizon, we’re well positioned to deliver long-term shareholder value. The foundation of our growth strategy is the energy and expertise of our employees, who are committed to working with integrity and engaging our stakeholders. We’re proud of our strong track record of safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy development. With approximately 3,000 employees worldwide, our primary offices are located in Calgary, the Fort McMurray area, Houston, Aberdeen and Uxbridge.

Painted Pony Petroleum Ltd.

Painted Pony Petroleum Ltd. engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of petroleum and natural gas resources in western Canada. It focuses on oil resources in southeast Saskatchewan for high netback, light, and sweet oil; and natural gas resources in northeast British Columbia for high impact, multi zone, and sweet gas. The Company’s operations in northeast British Columbia are located north of Fort St. John near mile post 132 on the Alaska Highway. The area is prospective for natural gas from multiple zones including the Montney, Halfway, Gething, Bluesky, Cadomin and Buckinghorse formations.

Progress Energy Resources Corp.

Progress Energy is a mid-sized natural gas producer, but the true scale of the company is told by other metrics. Ultimate potential of Progress assets is measured in billions of cubic feet per day of gas production. Progress holds some 820,000 acres of land in the prolific Montney fairway, showing 300 metres (1,000 feet) of gas-saturated, high-pressure pay zone, as confirmed by third-party evaluation. And we are, by far, the largest landholder in the Montney trend.

Quicksilver Resources

Quicksilver Resources Inc. operates in Canada through its Calgary-based subsidiary, Quicksilver Resources Canada Inc. Quicksilver began to focus on the potential of Canadian coalbed methane in 1999 and continues to explore for and develop unconventional gas resources in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin of Alberta, Canada. At year-end 2011, the company had reserves of approximately 330 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalents (Bcfe) in Canada.

The company is developing the Horn River Basin of northeast British Columbia, where it has leased 130,000 net acres. The company has booked approximately 100 Bcfe related to this acreage. As of December 2011, the company had four wells connected to sales and expects to complete 7-8 wells in 2012. Quicksilver has more than 100 employees associated with its Canadian operations.


Shell has been active in Canada since 1911 and is now one of the country’s largest integrated oil and gas companies. Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Shell Canada employs more than 8,000 people across Canada.

Shell Canada's Upstream businesses explore for and extract natural gas, and market and trade natural gas and power. The Company’s Downstream business refines, supplies, trades and ships crude oil worldwide and manufactures and markets a range of products, including fuels, lubricants, bitumen and liquified petroleaum gas (LPG) for home, transport and industrial use. Shell Canada is also the country's largest producer of sulphur.

Spectra Energy Corporation

Spectra Energy Corp is one of North America's premier natural gas infrastructure companies serving three key links in the natural gas value chain: gathering and processing, transmission and storage, and distribution. For nearly a century, Spectra Energy and its predecessor companies have developed critically important pipelines and related infrastructure connecting natural gas supply sources to premium markets.

Talisman Energy

Talisman Energy Inc. is a global, diversified, upstream oil and gas company, headquartered in Canada. Talisman's three main operating areas are North America, the North Sea and Southeast Asia.

Talisman’s Montney shale play in British Columbia provides Talisman with many opportunities at different stages of maturity. Talisman holds 144,000 Tier 1 net acres and will continue with the ongoing appraisal and development of Farrell Creek and Greater Cypress.

Tourmaline Oil Corp.

Tourmaline Oil Corp. is a Canadian intermediate crude oil and natural gas exploration and production company focused on long-term growth through an aggressive exploration, development, production and acquisition program in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.