Technology changes incredibly fast. Industry first introduced fracing technology to Quebec in 2007.
That is the same year Apple introduced the iPhone . In 2013 it launched the iPhone 5 which is the seventh generation of iPhones in just six years.
Due to a moratorium, the last well fraced in Quebec was in 2009. But outside of Quebec, just like cell phone technology, drilling and fracing techniques have been improving too. In 2009 we were drilling 1,000 meter horizontals with eight stage fracs each. Today 3,000 meter horizontals with thirty stage fracs are not uncommon.
Just a few of the recent advancements are that we now recycle virtually all of our water. Halliburton has also invented “Clean Stim” a drinkable non-toxic frac fluid (which I can confirm tastes like stale water). We have reduced even further our surface disturbance with longer horizontals. We have introduced cleaner burning natural gas fueled drilling rigs and support equipment in some places. Microseismic monitoring of frac shape and size is being perfected. Computer modeling of frac designs continues to improve. Equipment designs for drilling and fracing is evolving quickly. Monitoring and communications, by among other things iPhone 5’s, has also improved dramatically.
We are optimistic that natural gas development can be economic in Quebec not only because the price is materially higher there, but also because technology has advanced dramatically from 2007 to 2014.
Better technology is not just about improving the economics. It is also about protecting the environment. Improved efficiencies in water recycling and fugitive emissions help the bottom line. Just like fewer mistakes and accidents do.
The recently published environmental study in Quebec found that even with yesterday’s technology, modern oil and gas development can be done safely with best practices. It’s already safer and more profitable with today’s technology and will be even more so with tomorrow’s.