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Industry dynamics

Duvernay reserves get significant increase in new assessment

Time:2017.09.28


The National Energy Board (NEB), together with the Alberta Geological Survey (AGS), today 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 inplace hydrocarbon data provided by the AGS, the NEB estimates the Duvernay Shale contains 3.4 billion barrels 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.

"This new assessment further solidifies our understanding of the extensive - and increasingly abundant - natural gas and oil resources in Alberta," said Peter Watson, Chair & CEO of the National Energy Board. "Studies like this one also demonstrate the collaboration between the NEB and other government agencies. And they enable all governments to be better informed when building policy around resource development and energy markets." The Duvernay Shale covers nearly 20 per cent 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 one kilometre to more than five kilometres 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 salesquality 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. The assessment determined that the Duvernay region has the potential to produce 3.4 billion barrels of marketable crude oil, 6.3 billion barrels of marketable NGLs and nearly 77 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of marketable gas. Canada consumes about 3.1 Tcf of natural gas per year, making the Duvernay Shale's gas resources equivalent to nearly 25 years of Canada's annual consumption. Alberta produced 550,000 b/d of light oil and condensate in 2016, making the Duvernay Shale's light oil and condensate resources equivalent to 17 years of current provincial production levels.


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