Natural gas in Canada draws comparisons to Texas

The Dallas-Fort Worth area and Canada's remote Horn River Basin are more than 2,300 miles apart, but there's nevertheless a significant new link between the two highly diverse regions.

Horn River, in a heavily forested area of northeast British Columbia where subzero temperatures are commonplace, is now drawing comparisons to North Texas' Barnett Shale, a hotbed of drilling activity recently cited as the biggest natural gas-producing field in the United States.

There's increasing talk that Horn River, scene of a budding natural gas play attracting major oil industry players, could become another Barnett Shale in terms of headline-making gas production. The two regions have very similar geologies, and both are "unconventional" gas plays requiring advanced horizontal drilling techniques and extensive hydraulic fracturing to make them economically attractive.

The key players involved in Horn River also have strong Metroplex connections. Among the companies staking out large Horn River leaseholds are Fort Worth-based Quicksilver Resources, Irving-based behemoth Exxon Mobil Corp. and Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy, which is the No. 1 gas producer in the Barnett Shale and has a 550-employee North Texas work force.

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