The proven oil reserves of Canada amount to approximately 179 billion barrels. This amount includes the oil sands reserves, which are approximated by government regulators as economically producible with the use of current technology at current prices.
Canada as a Global Player
The oil reserves found in Canada is second only to that of Saudi Arabia, making Canada among the world leaders when it comes to oil production. More than 95% of the oil reserves in Canada are the oil sands deposits that are located in the province of Alberta. Alberta remains home to most of the oil sands in Canada, as well as its conventional oil reserves. Saskatchewan and some areas of Newfoundland, however, also have oil reserves.
Athabasca Oil Sands
The Athabasca Oil Sands are large deposits of extremely heavy crude oil, or bitumen, found in northeastern Alberta, Canada. The oil sands consist of a mixture of silica sand, water, clay minerals, and crude bitumen (which is a semi-solid form of crude oil). The deposits found in Athabasca is deemed as the world’s largest reservoir of crude bitumen.
It is also the largest of the three major oil sands deposits found in Alberta.
Commercial Production of Oil & the Recent Boom
The commercial production of oil from the Athabasca oil sands started in 1967, at the time when Great Canadian Oil Sands Limited (which was then Sun Oil Company’s subsidiary, but is now an independent company named Suncor Energy) opened its first mine that produced 30,000 barrels of synthetic crude oil each day.
Because of the declining world oil prices, though, development was limited at that time. Other companies started operating during later years, but it was only because of the oil price increases starting 2003 that the existing companies have expanded and there are plans of constructing new ones.
By 2006, there were already 1.126 million barrels of oil sands being processed each day, and oil sands were the source of approximately 62% of the total oil production of Alberta. Numerous projects and Canadian Pipeline supply companies such as CPACL saw great successes during this period, as one might expect with record high oil prices.
2017 & The Future
Despite a ‘rocky’ 24 months, Industry leader Suncor said it expects average production next year to be between 680,000 and 720,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d). That would be a 13% increase to output. The aforementioned CPACL looks to improve peformance in these year with a several revolutionary solutions with Custom Flow Nozzles and related efficiency products.
The cash operating costs from Suncor’s oil sands operation will be in the per barrel range of $24 to $27, roughly a dollar higher than this year due to higher natural gas prices.