DUVERNAY SHALE PLAY ECONOMIC RESOURCES

December 02, 2017

The Duvernay Formation is an emerging stratigraphical unit in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. The Duvernay Formation is present in the sub-surface in central Alberta. It reaches a maximum thickness of 820 feet, east of Lesser Slave Lake. The play is thought to hold 443 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas, 11.3 billion barrels (bbls) of natural gas liquids (NGL), and 61.7 billion bbls of oil, according to a report released in November 2012 by the Alberta Geological Survey. However, there is a difference between marketable resources and economic resources. Marketable resources are largely a measure of geology and technology, while economic resources consider how much of the marketable resources are economic to recover under certain economic conditions. The play is sometimes considered as a costly and uncertain quest.
The Canadian NEB (National Energy Board), using data provided by the Alberta Geological Survey (AGS), recently assessed the marketable petroleum resources of the Duvernay Shale, which is a measure of how much sales-quality oil, gas, and NGLs might ultimately be recovered from the formation. At 2017 light sweet crude oil prices, natural gas prices, and well costs, the Duvernay Shale’s economic oil resource is 156 million cubic metres (m3) or 1.0 billion barrels, about one third of the Duvernay’s marketable oil resource. Meanwhile, the Duvernay Shale’s economic natural gas resource is 339 billion m3(12.0 trillion cubic feet (Tcf)); 16% of the Duvernay’s marketable natural gas resource. The Duvernay Shale’s economic natural gas liquid (NGL) resource is 216 million m3 (1.4 billion barrels), about one fifth of the Duvernay’s marketable NGL resource.
Should well costs continue to fall and crude oil and natural gas prices modestly rise, the Duvernay Shale’s economic oil resource would increase to 350 million m3 (2.2 billion barrels), almost two thirds of the Duvernay’s marketable oil resources. (Source and image: NRB)