Canadian oil reserves up strongly in 2000, but gas reserves slip

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Nov. 29 -- The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said Thursday Canada's crude oil and equivalent reserves increased 400 million bbl in 2000 to 4.8 billion.

CAPP said conventional oil reserve additions, including offshore Atlantic Canada, were 131% of production in 2000. In addition, there were significant reserve additions from the oil sands areas in Alberta.

But it said gas reserves declined 2% to 59.7 tcf, and replacements were only 79% of production, reflecting a continued focus on shallow gas drilling.

CAPP said conventional oil reserves in western Canada increased moderately to 3.5 billion bbl in 2000, replacing 104% of production. "This was in large part due to producers in Saskatchewan replacing 154% of production. Alberta replaced 74% of production."

Atlantic Canada offshore reserves at Hibernia and Terra Nova fields increased by 136 million bbl after production due to drilling that resulted in a reassessment of reserves.

It said developed (i.e. booked) reserves at the oil sands mining projects (synthetic or upgraded oil) were stable at 5 billion bbl. A minor revision of 93 million bbl was offset by production of 116 million bbl.

In situ reserves increased to 1.8 billion bbl from 1.6 billion bbl because of positive revisions to a number of projects.

CAPP said gas reserves in western Canada decreased 2% from yearend 1999 to 56.9 tcf. The industry replaced 81% of its 2000 production versus 83% in 1999. In 2000, regional drilling followed the recent trend -- more than 50% of all gas wells drilled in Alberta were in the shallow southeast part of the province, where reserves are well defined and, in many cases, are already booked.

John Richels, chair of CAPP's fiscal executive policy group, said, "Last year, we invested close to $23 billion in Canada -- in the conventional areas of the western sedimentary basin, northern Canada, in the oil sands, and on the East Coast -- making the oil and natural gas industry the largest private-sector investor in Canada."

He said the decline rates of wells drilled in well-defined areas, combined with the positive results recently seen in areas like British Columbia's Ladyfern region, will likely result in industry placing a greater emphasis on the deeper regions of Alberta and British Columbia and looking north to the Northwest Territories and the Yukon.

CAPP said prospects for lower gas prices in 2002 suggest that drilling will decline from this year's record of more than 10,000 wells. But it said that still would be the third highest year on record.

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