Canada’s Northwest Territories holds as much as 200 billion barrels of shale oil reserves located in two separate fields, recent data from the National Energy Board (NEB) and the Northwest Territories Geological Survey shows.
While not all of that oil may be recoverable, experts believe that the Canol and Bluefish shales hold up to seven billion barrels of economically viable resources and could be comparable to North Dakota’s thriving Bakken field.
The fields, located in the central Northwest Territories’ Mackenzie Plain, 145 km. south of the Arctic Circle, might be the nation’s largest untapped oil reserves, according to NEB.
“This study confirms what we have known all along – that there is significant petroleum potential in the Sahtu,” said in a statement David Ramsay, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment for the Government of the Northwest Territories.
“If developed, these petroleum resources would create jobs and business opportunities and provide royalties to the GNWT and Aboriginal governments to support investment in northern priorities,” Ramsay added.
The Canol field, which has already been subject to exploratory drilling by companies including Husky Energy, Imperial, Shell and ConocoPhillips, could hold as much as 145 billion barrels of oil in place. Geologically speaking, this is comparable to what the Permian field in Texas, where producers typically recover 3% of oil in place.
The smaller Bluefish shale formation has not yet been explored, but it is believed to hold 46 billion barrels of oil in place.