Duvernay shale assessment shows oil, gas in place

By Staff | October 02, 2017

The Duvernay shale in central Alberta, Canada, holds 3.4 billion barrels of marketable light oil. The National Energy Board, the main energy regulator in Canada, released a new assessment on the Duvernay this month for the shale play that drillers have been operating in since 2011.

The Duvernay offers light oil, condensates and marketable gas at depths ranging from 1.5 to 3 miles below the surface. According to the new assessment, operators are still focusing on the Kaybob Field northwest of Edmonton, but provincial land sales show activity could be increasing in the East Shale Basin.

Included in the NEB’s assessment was a list of quick facts:

-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 of marketable gas.

-Canada consumes about 3.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas per year, making the Durvernay 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’s light oil and condensate resources equivalent to 17 years of current provincial production levels.

-For perspective, there are 165 billion barrels of oilsands reserves still remaining in northern Alberta.

-The Duvernay shale is rich in condensate, which is like a very light crude oil. However, condensate sells at a premium price to light crude oil because of high demand from the oilsands, where condensate is mixed with bitumen so that it can more easily flow through oil pipelines.

-Field condensate is recovered at a well site. Other condensate is recovered at gas-processing plants, where it is often called pentanes plus. 

As with most energy basin assessment, the estimates were calculated based on available technology being used for extraction today.