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Globe & Mail (Canada): Shell grabs more B.C. land

Globe & Mail (Canada): Shell grabs more B.C. land

24 June 2005

By PATRICK BRETHOUR

Continuing to ramp up its exploration efforts, Shell Canada Ltd. has snapped up the biggest share of British Columbia’s annual sale of oil and gas rights.

The Calgary-based energy company said yesterday it spent $85-million for 23,379 hectares in northeastern British Columbia, which will double the size of its exploration area for non-conventional natural gas.

Shell has abandoned its previous aim of stabilizing its conventional production and reserves in Western Canada and is instead now actively and aggressively exploring, a message the head of the company repeated this week.

“By any standard I think there is a lot more gas to be found,” said Clive Mather, Shell Canada’s chief executive officer, speaking at an energy conference in New York on Wednesday.

One of its biggest prizes so far arrived in December, when the company announced Tay, a major discovery in central Alberta containing up to 800 billion cubic feet of “raw gas,” the initial and most expansive measure of the amount of natural gas in a reservoir.

Tay is a conventional natural gas property, while the latest land purchases are for unconventional gas.

But spokesman Jeff Mann said both moves reflect the new emphasis on exploration.

Shell now has a 100-per-cent interest in 12 parcels, complementing a similar-sized position to the east, in Alberta.

Last year, the company drilled four wells on those lands.

More drilling is planned in both provinces this winter, according to Mr. Mann.

Over all, British Columbia raised $100.5-million on the sale of 59,759 hectares, the third most lucrative auction in the province’s history.

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