The National Energy Board (NEB), together with the Alberta Geological Survey (AGS), 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 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.
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 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.
The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada’s energy industry. It regulates pipelines, energy development and trade in the public interest with safety as its primary concern.
The Alberta Geological Survey (AGS) is a branch of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) and provides geological information and advice to the Government of Alberta, the AER, industry and the public to support responsible exploration, sustainable development, regulation, and conservation of Alberta’s resources.