The Best Lit­tle Oil Com­pa­nies in Canada

FIF­TEEN YEARS AGO IT WAS COM­MON KNOWL­EDGE THAT OIL AND GAS

Alberta Oil - - CONTENTS - BY JODY CHUDLEY

Who are the top ju­niors of the past, present and fu­ture?

pro­duc­tion in North Amer­ica was in ter­mi­nal de­cline. Af­ter decades of ex­plo­ration, all of the prof­itable on­shore oil and gas in Canada and the U.S. had al­ready been dis­cov­ered.

As a re­sult, the ma­jors set their sights else­where in search of re­serves that could move the nee­dle for them. The big boys of the busi­ness looked to riskier lo­cales like Africa and Kur­dis­tan as places where large amounts of hy­dro­car­bons could still be dis­cov­ered. Other ar­eas of at­ten­tion for the ma­jors were far off­shore in the deep ocean or way up north in the Arc­tic.

While the at­ten­tion of the ma­jors was else­where, close to home some­thing hap­pened. Small com­pa­nies run by en­tre­pre­neur­ial man­age­ment teams cracked the code on vast amounts of oil and gas lo­cated here in North Amer­ica. These man­age­ment teams didn’t re­ally have any op­tions—they didn’t have the deep pock­ets to chase ele­phants else­where.

Through trial and er­ror, and with some help from higher oil and gas prices, it was a group of independent pro­duc­ers who fig­ured out how to eco­nom­i­cally ex­tract en­ergy from poor qual­ity rocks. Drilling hor­i­zon­tally al­lowed com­pa­nies to stay in con­tact with oil and gas for­ma­tions over longer dis­tances. Frack­ing these for­ma­tions opened up those rocks and kept them propped open to al­low for oil and gas to flow.

The cor­po­rate care­taker men­tal­ity of the ma­jors wasn’t at­tuned to this new age of oil and gas pro­duc­tion. It was, in­stead, the en­tre­pre­neur­ial mind­set of the small, independent op­er­a­tors.

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