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New resource assessment adds oil reserves to Alberta marketplace

Published by
World Pipelines,

The National Energy Board (NEB), together with the Alberta Geological Survey (AGS), have released a new resource assessment for the Duvernay Shale in central Alberta that adds significant quantities of marketable light oil resources in the province, as well as natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs).

Using geological and in-place hydrocarbon data provided by the AGS, the NEB estimates the Duvernay Shale contains 3.4 billion bbls of marketable light oil and field condensate, or 17 years of Alberta’s annual production. It also shows marketable gas resources equivalent to nearly 25 years of Canada’s annual consumption.

The Duvernay Shale covers nearly 20% of the province, stretching from just below Grande Prairie to just north of Calgary and east of Edmonton. Companies have been drilling the Duvernay for shale gas and oil since 2011, and the region has extensive existing pipeline infrastructure.

Deposited about 370 million years ago, the Duvernay Shale is rich in organic matter and ranges from about 1 km to more than 5 km deep. The Duvernay generally starts getting prospective for oil and gas production below 2.5 km, with the formation generally oily in areas shallower than 3 km and gassier in areas deeper than 3 km.

Although most of current development has focused on the Duvernay’s West Shale Basin, such as the Kaybob Field northwest of Edmonton, recent provincial land sales show increasing industry interest in the Duvernay’s East Shale Basin.

A resource assessment of a formation’s marketable petroleum estimates the total amount of sales-quality oil, natural gas and even NGLs that can potentially be recovered from a formation with existing technology. Resource assessments are based on a number of factors such as the geology of the reservoir and production from existing wells.

The NEB will be releasing a second report later this fall examining the economics of the Duvernay Shale resource.

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