Where are Unconventional resources found in Alberta?

Unconventional resources can be found in geological formations throughout Alberta and offers tremendous economic opportunity.

The Cardium formation is spread over much of western Alberta and has received widespread attention. The National Energy Boardexternal link icon (NEB) estimates that the Cardium formation contains 10.6 billion barrels of oil in place. As well, since its discovery in the 1950s, over 1.5 billion barrels of oil has been produced in the Cardium formation.

In 2012, the Alberta Geological Surveyexternal link icon (AGS) prepared a study for unconventional hydrocarbon resource potential in Alberta. The AGS is planning to conduct full assessments for all identified formations, but has completed both full and preliminary assessments for the following six formations.

The Montney formation is approximately 130,000 square kilometers and is located along the Alberta-British Columbia (B.C) border, in the northeastern portion of B.C. and northwest Alberta, past Grande Prairie. It is one of the most active resource formations being developed in Canada. According to estimates by the AGS and NEB, Alberta’s portion of the Montney includes 136.3 billion barrels of oil, 28.9 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, and 2,309 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The Duvernay formation stretches 100,000 square kilometers along the Alberta foothills just east of the Rocky Mountains. The AGS estimates the Duvernay has 61.7 billion barrels of oil, 11.3 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, and 443 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in-place.

The Muskwa formation is widely distributed throughout northeast B.C. and northwest Alberta, and is estimated to contain an in-place endowment of 115. 1 billion barrels of oil, 14.8 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, and 419 trillion cubic feet of natural gas located within Alberta.

The north Nordegg member is located in west-central Alberta and is estimated to contain an in-place endowment of 37.8 billion barrels of oil, 1.4 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, and 148 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The Wilrich member is located in west-central Alberta, stretching from the Fort St. John area in B.C. to the Spirit River area in Alberta. Alberta’s portion of the Wilrich formation is estimated to contain an in-place endowment of 47.9 billion barrels of oil, 2.1 billion barrels of natural gas liquids, and 246 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The Banff formation extends from southern Alberta and the Kootenays region of B.C. to northeastern B.C., northern Alberta and the District of Mackenzie in the Northwest Territories. The Exshaw formation extends from the prairies of northern Montana to southern portions of the Northwest Territories. Together, the in-place resource endowment of Alberta’s portion of the Banff and Exshaw formations is estimated to contain 24.8 billion barrels of oil, 92 million barrels of natural gas liquids, and 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.