Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

ERCB report shows 14 percent growth in Alberta tar sands production in 2009

ERCB report shows 14 percent growth in Alberta oil sands production in 2009
by: Government of Alberta | Jun 5th, 2010

June 5, 2010

Alberta’s Reserves 2009 and Supply/Demand Outlook 2010 – 2019

Fast Facts

Bitumen Reserves and Production

* Based on recent drilling results the Athabasca Grosmont deposit was re-evaluated for 2009. The re-evaluation, the first since 1990, resulted in a 28 per cent increase to in-place carbonate crude bitumen resource to 406 billion barrels (64.5 billion m3). Established reserves were not estimated due to the absence of approved commercial projects.

* The Cold Lake Upper and Lower Grand Rapids deposits were re-evaluated, the first since 1999, with initial in-place resources decreasing 20 and 5 per cent to 33.8 and 62.9 billion barrels (5.4 and 10.0 billion m3) respectively. The Athabasca Wabiskaw-McMurray deposit was updated with a minor decrease of 0.4 per cent of initial in-place resources to 959 billion barrels (152.4 billion m3). A review of the established reserves for these deposits has not yet been completed.

* The total provincial remaining bitumen established reserve estimate was revised from the previous year’s 170.4 billion barrels (27.07 billion m3) to 169.9 billion barrels (26.99 billion m3), due to 2009 production.

* Alberta raw bitumen production is expected to increase to 3.2 million barrels (506 700 m3) per day by 2019 based on announced expansions of existing projects and commencement of new projects.

* In 2009, Alberta produced 544 million barrels (86.4 million m3), or 1.49 million barrels (236 700 m3) per day, of raw bitumen from the oil sands, a 14 per cent increase from 2008. This increase was due in part to increased mined bitumen production by Suncor, the ramp-up of production from CNRL’s Horizon Project, and in-situ SAGD production increases in the Athabasca OSA.

* In 2009, upgraded bitumen yielded 765 800 barrels (121 700 m3) per day of synthetic crude oil. This corresponds to approximately 61 per cent of total raw bitumen production being upgraded in Alberta to synthetic crude oil.

* By 2019, synthetic crude oil production is forecast to increase by approximately 77 per cent, to 1.3 million barrels (215 000 m3) per day.

Conventional Oil Reserves and Production

* Alberta’s remaining established reserves of conventional oil are estimated at 1.4 billion barrels (228 million m3), a 2 per cent decrease from 2008. This decline is consistent with the trend over previous years.

* In 2009, drilling added 102 million barrels (16.2 million m3) of conventional oil reserves, replacing 60 per cent of 2009 production.

* The ERCB estimates the remaining ultimate potential of conventional oil at 3.5 billion barrels (564 million m3).

* In 2009, Alberta produced 169 million barrels (26.76 million m3) of conventional oil, or 461 300 barrels (73 300 m3) per day.

* In 2009, the number of wells placed on crude oil production decreased to 1046, falling 41 per cent from 2008 levels.

* The ERCB estimates the number of new wells placed on production will increase to 1 500 wells in 2010, 1700 in 2011, 1900 in 2012 and level out at 2000 wells for the remaining forecast period.

Total Oil Supply and Demand

* In 2009, Alberta produced 1.93 million barrels (306 600 m3) per day of conventional oil, marketable crude bitumen, and pentanes plus. This is an increase of 4.4 per cent compared to 2008 due to the increase in marketable crude bitumen production.

* By 2019, the ERCB forecasts production of 3.3 million barrels (522 900 m3) per day, of which 2.9 million barrels per day is marketable crude bitumen (synthetic crude 1.3 million barrels per day and non-upgraded bitumen 1.6 million barrels per day). The ability to increase bitumen production has offset the continuing decline in conventional crude oil.

* Alberta’s total remaining established bitumen and oil reserves includes 1.4 billion barrels of conventional oil and 169.9 billion barrels of bitumen. This positions Alberta as a net supplier of oil for many decades to come.

Conventional Natural Gas Reserves and Production

* In 2009, remaining established reserves of conventional natural gas stood at 37.5 trillion cubic feet (1056 billion m3).

* Reserve additions as a result of new drilling replaced 54 per cent of 2009 gas production.

* The ERCB estimates remaining ultimate potential of marketable natural gas at 78 tcf (2201 billion m3).

* Alberta produced 4.0 trillion cubic feet (113.9 billion m3 standardized to 37.4 MJ/m3) of marketable conventional natural gas in 2009, down 8.9 per cent from last year’s production.

* The ERCB estimates the number of new conventional gas well connections in the province to decline to 2800 in 2010, a 26 per cent decrease relative to the 2009 well connections of just over 3760.

Unconventional Natural Gas

* An estimate of Alberta’s coalbed methane remaining reserves of 2.29 trillion cubic feet (64.5 billion m3) has been determined. This is up significantly from 2008 due to the re-evaluation of the Mannville deposit.

* In 2009, Alberta produced 318 billion cubic feet (9.0 billion m3), an increase of 6 per cent from 2008.

* In 2003, the Alberta Geological Survey (part of the ERCB) released an estimate of 500 trillion cubic feet (14.1 trillion m3) of gas in place within all the coal of Alberta.

* The ERCB expects to publish in-place shale gas resource estimates in the near future. The estimation of established reserves will then follow as commercial activity takes place and an assessment of shale gas recoverability can be made.


* Remaining established reserves of extractable ethane is estimated at 736 million barrels (117 million m3).

* Production of specification ethane in 2009 decreased marginally to 81 million barrels (12.8 million m3) compared to 2008.

Coal Reserves and Production

* The current estimate for remaining established reserves for all types of coal is about 37 billion tons (33 billion tonnes).

* Alberta’s total 2009 marketable coal production was 36 million tons (32 million tonnes). By 2019, total production is expected to increase by 3.6 per cent, with the largest increase in production expected to come from metallurgical grade coal as a result of the planned opening of new mines.

Reserves Definitions

Initial in-place: The volume or mass of oil, gas, bitumen or coal calculated or interpreted to exist in the ground before any quantity has been produced.

Established reserves: Reserves recoverable under current technology and present and anticipated economic conditions specifically proven by drilling, testing, or production, plus the portion of reserves interpreted to exist from geological, geophysical, or similar information with reasonable certainty.

Initial established reserves: Established reserves prior to the deduction of any production.

Cumulative production: The sum of production volumes or mass from all prior years.

Remaining established reserves: Initial established reserves minus cumulative production.

Ultimate potential: An estimate of initial established reserves that will have been developed in an area by the time all exploratory and development activity has ceased, having regard for the geological prospects of the area and anticipated technology and economic conditions.


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