CALGARY • Oil and gas juniors have been leading the way in discovering tight oil in Western Canada, an effort that in better times would have been rewarded by investors looking for the Next Big Thing. Yet today they are struggling with some of the most challenging conditions many ever faced.
Pushed by low natural gas prices to re-invent themselves into oil producers, juniors took up the challenge and were the first to experiment with new drilling technologies that unlocked so many new tight oil plays they helped reverse the decline of conventional oil production in Western Canada, much like in the United States.
Many are growing aggressively, at low cost, and keeping debt low to ensure they have staying power over the long term.
Yet their triumphs in the Montney, the Cardium, the Shaunavon, the Bakken, and other emerging tight oil fields have been stolen by the continuing mess in Europe, which is keeping investors away from anything that’s perceived as risky or tough to sell in a hurry. Their story is another measure of how the global economic malaise is dampening Canadian sectors.