Up to 425 trillion cubic feet. That’s a lot of gas.

A new joint study by Canada’s National Energy Board, British Columbia’s Oil and Gas Commission, the Northwest Territories’ Geological Survey and the Yukon Geological Survey estimates that shales in Canada’s Liard Basin could contain up to 425 tcf of marketable natural gas, which is about four times more than previously thought. The study indicates that the Liard Basin’s shales are among the world’s largest shale gas deposits.  The Exshaw-Patry shale in the Liard Basin is exceptional among North American shale plays as it is very deep, 100% over pressured and very brittle, making it prone to cracking when hydraulically fractured.

The Basin straddles British Columbia and the Northwest and Yukon Territories. However, the area is remote and largely undeveloped although a few wells have been drilled.

It is also subject to differing regulations with respect to hydraulic fracturing. In British Columbia, hydraulic fracturing is allowed and tens of thousands of wells in B.C. have been produced through the technology for many decades.  Conversely, hydraulic fracturing is not allowed in the Yukon and will not be allowed until the technology has the support of affected First Nations (see previous post – Click Here).  The Northwest Territories has a similar ban but has proposed new hydraulic fracturing regulations for on-shore wells (see previous post Click here).  A Legislative Standing Committee on Economic Development and Infrastructure continues to consider the issues associated with hydraulic fracturing in the NWT.

Given the remoteness, low gas prices and fracking bans in two of the three jurisdictions, it is unlikely that much of resource will be developed soon, even if it is a lot of gas.