Monday, February 4, 2013

Another Oil Play That Could Be Bigger Than The Bakken: The Canol


May 28, 2015: first assessment.  
The first assessment of the unconventional resource potential of two shales in the Canadian Northwest Territories has shown large amounts of petroleum resources. The assessment of the Bluefish and the Canol Shales, carried out jointly by The National Energy Board (NEB) and Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) assessed the resources at an impressive 191 billion barrels.
The assessment of the two shales, carried out jointly by The National Energy Board  and Northwest Territories Geological Survey showed that the volume of oil-in-place for the Canol Shale is estimated to be 145 billion barrels; the thinner Bluefish Shale is expected to contain 46 billion barrels of oil-in-place.
The amount of recoverable oil was not estimated because well-test results are not yet publicly available and there is still uncertainty about whether the shales are capable of production. However, if only one percent of the in-place resource was recovered from the Canol Shale, it would represent a marketable resource of 1.45 billion barrels.
So, it appears they are suggesting about 200 billion bbls OOIP with a recovery rate of 1% providing about 1.45 billion bbls. To put that in perspective, most "everyone" agrees that the Williston Basin Bakken boasts 500 billion bbls OOIP and operators are currently easily getting 3% recovery, and maybe much more. Of course, the official surveys (USGS) do not agree with 500 billion bbls OOIP in the Williston Basin, so it's possible that the Canol Shale / Bluefish Shale is similar in size to the Williston Bakken. 

June 3, 2014: update. Includes notes on the Bluefish in the same play

February 5, 2013: MGM Energy spuds exploratory well in the Canol

Original Post

From, an update on the Canol Basin, in the far north of Canada. The writer posted an introduction to the Canol oil shale last month.
The emerging Canol oil shale is poised to challenge the Bakken and Eagle Ford plays as one of North America's largest oil shale deposits when the super majors unveil their significant positions this winter. The Canol is a high quality shale reservoir which covers a larger area than the Eagle Ford and has better reservoir parameters than either of its southern rivals. This oil play in Canada's North West Territories (NWT) offers risk tolerant investors the possibility of a high impact investment opportunity which has not shown up on investors' radar screens because the majors who control the play are not as prone to self promotion as junior and mid-sized companies. As a result, the potential value of the play may not be reflected in their stock prices.
Today, the update
This play potentially exceeds the Bakken and Eagle Ford, but is unusual in that it is controlled by the major oil companies with only one small company involved. Very little information has been released to base an evaluation upon as companies were competing to accumulate land positions. That is about to change, as the play is now in the de-risking stage of development with five wells presently being drilled and/or tested.


  1. Absolutely no reason to import oil from regimes who are enemies of who we are as a country. Of course it makes a lot of sense if you do not want to see this country prosper because if it does not fit with the one world order ideas shared by too many in this country.

    Go OH Canada our allied friend and close neighbor.

    We should stop importing oil from the creeps of the world.

    1. I'm finally getting it: "we" need both heavy oil and light oil. Light oil, pretty much, domestic. Heavy oil from OPEC or Canada. I guess this administration prefers heavy oil from OPEC over Canada. Sad.

  2. Maybe this oil should be referred to as canola oil. maybe just as light but without the trans fat from the sands to the south.

    If you thought the Bakken transportation bottlenecks are a head ache, transportation from the North West Territory should be a major migraine.

  3. Before the arrival of horizontal drilling and the fracturing of shale it was thought the MacKenzie River valley of the NWT would be a major source of new natural gas. That is permafrost territory like a great part of Alaska is so the gas hydrates are frozen. I don't know but this could be natures form of cryogenics? There is even that pipeline put in to be part of delivering natural gas to the US with Alaska participating as well.

    These are all ideas that didn't happen because of easier access to gas closer to its usage in the lower 48 states from horizontal drilling and the fracturing of shale.

    Where there is gas there is the likelihood of of petroleum being around. This is my guess up there and it stands to reason because it is just a continuation of the hydrocarbon rich zones found east of the Rocky Mountains like the Williston basin.

    As far as infrastructure it would be pretty hard to develop. The scarcity of rich oil and gas areas is not the case any longer. It is truly a new day for energy. However it is good to know it is there. We don't have to use it right now.

    This should be used as a scam against the climate change global warming crowd. Maybe they will all go up there and live with the polar bears they want to protect and are so concerned about. Forget it, I wouldn't wish that on Canada.

    The era of scarcity is truly over and it was never the case. It was a part of a grand plan to plant fear in people. Fear is a good tool to use in controlling people.

    Another interesting day in the annals of the current energy revolution and green or so called renewables has little to do with it.

    1. I don't think a lot of folks would agree with points / theses by in David Graeber's "Debt: The First 5,000 Years," but he has noted the same thing: capitalists seem to keep coming up with concerns about the world coming to and end: when the 1950's nuclear holocaust scare seemed to not be workable, he suggests "global warming" took its place as the "thing" to scare people.

      Interesting: coming from two very different viewpoints, and coming up with the same observation.

      I agree; it will be very, very problematic to build the infrastructure needed to get the NG and oil out of the Canadian Arctic.

  4. No link, but this week I read the NWT PM's statement encouraging sending Oil Sands oil north to export through the NW passage. Really.

    anon 1

    1. I wonder if this link would suffice?

      For a primer on the issue, perhaps: