Oil sands growth and new production from existing conventional oil reserves will drive Canadian crude oil production to about 4.7 million barrels per day by 2025 according to the latest forecast from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. (40 pages) This is about 401,000 b/d higher than previously forecast, due primarily to the higher conventional production and the inclusion of some additional in situ projects that were previously put on hold.
Canadian Crude Oil Production Forecast* (million b/d) 2010 Actual 2011 2015 2020 2025 Oil Sands 1.5 1.6 2.2 3.0 3.7 Conventional 0.9 1.0 1.0 0.9 0.7 Pentanes/Condensate 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 Offshore 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.1 Total Canadian Crude Oil Production 2.8 2.9 3.5 4.2 4.7
The successful use of horizontal drilling and multi-fracturing in the Bakken formation in Saskatchewan provided the earliest indications that this technology was a game changer for the industry. Over the medium term, moderate growth in Saskatchewan light oil production is estimated. The Bakken play is expected to continue to perform strongly; and there is increased interest in horizontal drilling in emerging oil plays like the Lower Shaunavon in the southwest of the province, the Viking in west-central Saskatchewan around Kindersley and the Birdbear in the northwest of the province near Lloydminster. Similarly, the Cardium formation in Alberta and the Viking formation in central and eastern Alberta and west central Saskatchewan have been identified as formations well suited for increased use of this technology since they contain large deposits of oil-in-place with historically low recovery rates.
Canada’s oil sands deposits are divided into three major regions in northern Alberta referred to as the Athabasca, Cold Lake and Peace River deposits. The Alberta Energy Resources and Conservation Board (ERCB) estimated at year-end 2009, that these areas contain remaining established reserves of 170 billion barrels.
Of the remaining established reserves in Alberta, 136 billion barrels, or 80 per cent, is considered recoverable by in situ methods and 34 billion barrels can be recovered by surface mining. In situ recovery includes both primary methods, which are similar to conventional production, and other methods whereby steam, water, or other solvents are injected into the reservoir to reduce the viscosity of the bitumen, allowing it to flow to a vertical or horizontal wellbore.
There are also smaller deposits in northwest Saskatchewan next to the Athabasca oil sands deposit. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Energy and Resources has estimated 2.7 million hectares of potential land but the resource base has not been officially determined.