Canadian operators targeting gas, oil sands in another record-breaking year

Canadian operators are focusing their drilling for natural gas and boosting oil production from tar sands, in lieu of pursuing conventional oil plays.Operators are taking greater risks in drilling for gas rather than for oil. In western Canada, 26% of gas wells drilled during the first 7 months of 2004, compared with 16% of oil wells, were classified as "exploratory."Drilling permits for natural gas reached 11,455 by the end of July, 18% ahead of the same period in 2003. Gas well completions reached 8,379, 34% higher than 2003. The gas permit count may reach 19,000 by the end of the year. Ensign Drilling rig at work in the Sousa field, northwest Alberta. Photo from Blizzard Energy Inc.Cl...

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