Alberta has huge shale oil, gas resources - study

Tue Nov 6, 2012 3:46pm EST
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* Duvernay, Montney, Muskwa among major formations

* Oil majors are amassing lands to unlock reserves

* Technology, economics will determine what gets produced

By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov 6 (Reuters) - A new study has identified immense oil and gas resources in Alberta's emerging shale prospects, suggesting a string of recent takeovers and land buys will yield impressive production gains for some of the world's largest oil companies.

The Western Canadian province's shale formations, including the Duvernay, Montney and Muskwa, could contain 3,324 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 58.6 billion barrels of gas liquids and 423.6 billion barrels of oil, according to the research, conducted by the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board and Alberta Geological Survey.

The numbers show Alberta, already Canada's largest oil and gas producing province, has huge potential even beyond its oil sands. They are currently seen as the world's third-largest crude deposit with about 170 billion barrels of proven reserves and ultimate potential of as much as 1.7 trillion barrels.

The Duvernay and Montney have been the targets of a boom in energy deal-making, with companies such as Encana Corp, Chevron Corp and Talisman Energy Inc amassing land positions to unlock its liquids-rich reserves.

Last month, Exxon Mobil Corp agreed to buy Celtic Exploration for C$2.6 billion ($2.6 billion), locking up its reserves in both the Duvernay and Montney.   Continued...