UPDATE 1-Alberta has huge shale oil, gas resources - study

Tue Nov 6, 2012 6:17pm 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 province's shale formations, including the Duvernay, Montney and Muskwa, could ultimately 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.

Such figures put the deposits in league with some of the major U.S. shale plays that have s ignificantly s hifted the co mplexion o f the energy industry from conventional operations to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

Alberta, though Canada's largest oil and gas producer, has been behind many other jurisdictions in identifying and tapping many of its shale prospects, so development is still in early stages.

"The numbers fall in line, more or less, with many of the other shales, whether it's Eagle Ford or Marcellus," said Andrew Beaton, one of the report's authors, referring to the big Texas and U.S. Northeast formations where production has surged.   Continued...