ERCB forecasts 3.5 million b/d bitumen production by 2020

Guntis Moritis
OGJ Production Editor

HOUSTON, June 13 -- Alberta's bitumen production may more than double to 3.5 million b/d by 2020, up from 1.6 million b/d in 2010, according to a recent report by Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB).

In the report, Alberta's Energy Reserves 2010 & Supply/Demand Outlook 2011-20, ERCB notes that remaining established bitumen reserves are 169 billion bbl out of an initial 177 billion bbl of established reserves. Cumulative bitumen produced through 2010 has been 7.5 billion bbl since commercial production began in 1967.

Of the remaining established reserves, mineable areas contain 34 billion bbl and in situ areas contain 135 billion bbl, the report said.

Alberta's bitumen production in 2010 from mining of 857,000 b/d was higher than the 756,000 b/d produced from in situ areas, but ERCB expects in situ bitumen production to surpass mining production by 2015.

In 2010, all bitumen produced from mining and 11% of that produced in situ was upgraded in Alberta to yield 795,000 b/d of synthetic crude oil (SCO). ERCB forecasts that SCO production in Alberta will increase to 1.4 million b/d in 2020.

ERCB estimates that Alberta contained 1,804 billion bbl of bitumen initially in place and that the ultimate recovery potential is 315 billion bbl.

Contact Guntis Moritis at guntism@ogjonline.com.

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