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Page added on December 29, 2007

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The trouble with shale gas


Huge reserves come with huge obstacles


VANCOUVER -It was just five years ago that Basim Faraj began talking about something that had Calgary’s oil-and-gas crowd, in his words, “looking at me as if I just landed from Mars.”


It didn’t take long for things to change. In those few short years, Mr. Faraj, an unconventional gas specialist with Tasliman Energy Inc., has gone from eccentric to guru, and his knowledge about a once-obscure topic has made him highly-sought among both government and industry.


The topic: shale gas, a kind of natural gas once considered impossible to extract that is now becoming the Great Energy Hope of a Canadian industry approaching the end of its easiest-to-find gas deposits. It took U.S. energy companies nearly two decades to figure out the immense technological challenges involved in extracting shale gas, and Canadians are just beginning that work.


Still, according to Mr. Faraj, this country holds so much shale gas that it stretches the bounds of believability.


He has estimated that Canada’s depths could contain as much as 15,000 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas — a staggering number nearly triple the proven gas reserves for the entire world. But shale gas is anything but proven, and experience has shown that very little of the gas in place can actually be extracted.


Financial Post



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