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Barnett (Central Texas)

The area where the industry first unlocked natural gas from shale by using horizontal drilling techniques and hydraulic fracturing, a process that shoots chemical-laced water into the deposit to crack the rock. Early indicators of potential production in 2015: four billion cubic feet (bcf) a day.

Haynesville (Northwest Louisiana, East Texas, Arkansas)

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This deposit rivals the Barnett as one of the biggest plays in North America. It has attracted investment from international oil companies, including Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Calgary's Encana Corp. Early indicators for production in 2015: four bcf a day.

Fayetteville (Central Arkansas)

Chesapeake Energy Corp., the largest shale gas producer in the U.S., is heavily involved with this play, which could generate 20 trillion cubic feet of gas over its lifetime. Early indications of production in 2015: less than four bcf a day.

Horn River/Montney (British Columbia)

Two neighbouring plays in northeastern British Columbia have become the Canadian hot spots for natural gas producers. Apache Energy and Talisman Energy Inc. of Calgary are among the leading investors in the plays. Early indicators of production in 2015: up to three bcf a day.

Eagle Ford (South Texas)

One of the newer plays to attract investment following an announcement in April by EOG Resources Inc. of a major discovery in the area. Talisman has expanded its acreage in the deposit, where the gas is rich in liquids like butane and propane that are used by the petrochemical industry. Early indicators of production in 2015: up to three bcf a day.

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Utica (south shore of St. Lawrence River, Quebec)

Talisman's partner, Questerre Energy Corp., has announced a significant result in this region. The two companies have embarked on a more extensive drilling program to determine the extent of commercial viability. Early indications of production in 2015: less that 0.5 bcf a day.

Collingwood (Michigan)

The Michigan basin is being explored by companies that include Encana. The formation extends into Ontario, where companies are examining its potential, but have not yet announced drilling programs. Early indications of production in 2015: Not available.

- Shawn McCarthy; production estimates from Ziff Energy Group

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