There are many types of oil and natural gas – and Canada has them all.
- Natural gas is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon consisting primarily of methane. It may also contain small amounts of ethane, propane, butane and pentanes.
- Conventional natural gas is easier to produce than unconventional gas, which includes tight gas, coal bed methane, shale gas and gas hydrates (a possible future source).
- Most of the growth in supply from today’s recoverable gas resources is found in unconventional formations, made accessible by innovative technologies including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
- Crude oil is a black, brownish or amber liquid that is a complex mix of hydrocarbons. It consists of carbon, hydrogen, sulphur, nitrogen, oxygen and metals.
- Conventional crude oil flows relatively easily through a well or pipeline.
- Heavy oil is a more dense, viscous oil, with a high proportion of bitumen that is difficult to extract with conventional techniques.
- Oil sands are a thick mixture of bitumen, water, sand, heavy metals and clay.
- Tight oil trapped in formations of low porosity and permeability (like shale), requires horizontal drilling and stimulation such as hydraulic fracturing.