Canada: Bluefish and Canol Shales may hold over 190 billion barrels of oil

Oil rig
Source: DollarPhotoClub

The first assessment of the unconventional resource potential of two shales in the Canadian Northwest Territories has shown large amounts of petroleum resources. The assessment of the Bluefish and the Canol Shales, carried out jointly by The National Energy Board (NEB) and Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) assessed the resources at an impressive 191 billion barrels.

The assessment of the two shales, carried out jointly by The National Energy Board (NEB) and Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) showed that the volume of oil-in-place for the Canol Shale is estimated to be 145 billion barrels; the thinner Bluefish Shale is expected to contain 46 billion barrels of oil-in-place.

The amount of recoverable oil was not estimated because well-test results are not yet publicly available and there is still uncertainty about whether the shales are capable of production. However, if only one percent of the in-place resource was recovered from the Canol Shale, it would represent a marketable resource of 1.45 billion barrels.

“This study confirms what we have known all along – that there is significant petroleum potential in the Sahtu,” said David Ramsay, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment for the Government of the Northwest Territories.

“Scientific research in the NWT provides critical data for decision-making about land and resource management. This new research complements the ongoing science to monitor permafrost, seismic activity and water in the region. If developed, these petroleum resources would create jobs and business opportunities and provide royalties to the GNWT and Aboriginal governments to support investment in northern priorities.”

The Mackenzie Plain is part of the Mackenzie Arc exploration region, which is located within the Northern Canadian Mainland Sedimentary Basin. Industry has recently been targeting the Canol Shale: 14 exploration licenses have been granted there since 2010-2011 for a total of $627.5 million in work-bid commitments. Seven new exploration wells have been drilled since 2012.

“Resource assessments with our provincial and territorial partners are an important part of the Board’s business, because they help to increase market transparency while also informing policy makers, stakeholders, and First Nations of resource potential,” said Jim Fox, NEB’s Vice-President of Strategy and Analysis.

The Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) is a division of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment. It advances geoscience knowledge of the Northwest Territories for the benefit of Northerners and all Canadians through the delivery of geoscience research, analysis of mineral and petroleum resources, and excellence in digital data management.

The National Energy Board is an independent federal regulator of several parts of Canada’s energy industry with the safety of Canadians and protection of the environment as its top priority. Its purpose is to regulate pipelines, energy development and trade in the Canadian public interest.

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