With Spring Break-up in full swing it’s time for many of us to sit back and take a breather, others are not so lucky. While the bulk of seismic activity in Canada is carried out in the three to four months when the ground is frozen, there are many activities that continue year-round such as fracking, drilling, regulatory work, etc. Referring to Mike Doyle’s (President CAGC) comments in The Source, we clearly had an excellent acquisition season this winter and he even suggests winter activity numbers equal to the last boom – 2007/2008. That kind of makes me laugh and cringe at the same time and further goes to show what a boom and bust industry we work in. And it should also be noted and celebrated that the CAGC is celebrating its 35 anniversary this year. And in the words of their longstanding ex-president Bill Kammermayer, the CAGC was “born of a need of the geophysical contractors of the day to have an association to manage their interests with the federal and provincial governments.”

GeoConvention Update

  • The Technical Committee is populated on the web with all author title and abstract information, and features 51 sessions, covering 33 individual topics, 19 core presentations and 96 posters. Of note is the CSEG Special Session Thursday morning, featuring invited speakers from around the world, and the multi-part Arctic sessions running Monday – Wednesday.
  • The Convention is on track to meet budget targets.
  • The 2012 Convention is brought about through the hard work of over 200 volunteers, including 45 committee members, 78 session chairs and over 100 students who will be helping out in various positions throughout the week

Commodity prices are front and central to everybody in the patch these days. The dollar has been stable at about par with the US, and there is a huge gas glut that has pushed prices to ten year lows, below US$2 per 1,000 cubic feet. Just another reason to like the Albert Blue Flame Log Lighter – never seen one of those anywhere else in the world. The following quotes were taken from Yahoo finance:

  • Canadian and U.S. natural gas prices have declined and are near their lowest levels in almost a decade due to growing U.S. deliverability and a slowing of demand growth. In contrast, oil prices have increased and are nearing their highest average annual level in over a decade.
  • Total Canadian and U.S. marketable (sales) natural gas[5] production has increased since 2005 and is currently at approximately 2153 106m3/d (76 Bcf/d). The growth of natural gas production can mostly be attributed to an increase in shale gas activity in the U.S.


On the other hand, oil prices have stayed exceptionally stable recently mostly above $100/bbl. Additionally the WTI/Brent differential is now at $20 – historically unheard of.


Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said recently commodity prices (referring to oil rather than gas) are likely to remain high for longer than in previous booms. Mr. Carney repeated the central bank’s recent warning that interest rates may need to rise.

Carney, asked to name potential mistakes that investors could make, told a business audience that one error would be “to think that ... current elevated levels of commodity prices are a temporary phenomenon."

“Eventually, all commodity booms end, but this one in our view will go on for some time,” he said, noting that Canada is well positioned in a global “commodity super cycle.”

And lastly, for good or for bad, the Progressive Conservatives are back in power with a majority government. Hopefully they do what’s right for Alberta from a resources (renewable, carbon based, wind, etc), tourism, health, education and arts point of view. Obviously it was a big election with some wildly misleading advance polls and a reasonably good voter turnout.


[5] Marketable (sales) gas is gas that has been processed to remove impurities and NGLs, and meets specifications for use as an industrial, commercial, or domestic fuel.



Share This Column