Two regions many Canadians have never heard of are about to overshadow the Athabasca tar sands/oil sands as the focus for oil and gas production, the fossil resources unlocked by water-intensive hydro-fracking, Reuters reports.
The news agency rings out “the era of oil sands megaprojects,” saying it “will likely end with Suncor Energy’s 194,000 barrel-per-day Fort Hills mining project, which started producing this month.” Instead, “gas producers and global oil majors are increasingly exploring the Duvernay and Montney formations, which they say could rival the most prolific U.S. shale fields.”
Duvernay is a region of shale in central Alberta, while the Montney siltstone formation straddles northern Alberta and British Columbia. Both formations are rich in recoverable natural gas, gas liquids, and “tight, light” oil.
Together, the Duvernay and Montney formations “hold marketable resources estimated at 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 20 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, and 4.5 billion barrels of oil,” Reuters estimates, citing the National Energy Board.
Moreover, notwithstanding fossils’ bitter complaints about energy regulation in Canada, the news agency casts the country as a model jurisdiction for fossil investment, offering “many of the same advantages that allowed oil firms to launch the shale revolution in the United States: numerous private energy firms with appetite for risk; deep capital markets; infrastructure to transport oil; low population in regions that contain shale reserves; and plentiful water to pump into shale wells.”
The report did not address the implications for Canada’s climate goals of potential fossil developments in the Montney or Duvernay formations.