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Ministry of Energy, Mines and Pertoleum Resources

Hydrocarbon Reserves


Currently, the Northeast area of British Columbia, a part of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB), is the only area where reserves are recognized by the province. The Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) publishes an annual report entitled Hydrocarbon & By-Product Reserves in BC. The report presents the province's hydrocarbon reserve estimates as of the end of the calendar year. The estimates include original oil in place volumes, initial recoverable volumes, annual and cumulative production and remaining recoverable volumes.

Details of the reserves estimates are summarized in the Oil and Gas Commission report Hydrocarbon & By-Product Reserves in BC 2005. The hardcopy report is available from Crown Publications Inc. or, is available for viewing at the Oil and Gas Commission Offices in Fort St. John or Victoria, British Columbia and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Library in Victoria.

Hydrocarbon & By-Product Reserves in British Columbia 2005



Table 1
Remaining Established Reserves



OIL   21.8 106m3 20.9 106m3
    (137.6 MMSTB) (131.3 MMSTB)
  Total, raw 389.7 109m3 444.6 109m3
    (13.8 TCF) (15.8 TCF)
  Total, marketable 317.4 109m3 362.8 109m3
    (11.3 TCF) (12.9 TCF)
  Unconnected Gas    
  Raw 27.9 109m3 26.7 109m3
    (1.0 TCF) (0.95 TCF)
  Marketable 21.8 109m3 20.7 109m3
    (0.8 TCF) (0.7 TCF)
  LPG 13.6 106m3 15.1 106m3
    (85.9 MMSTB) (95.1 MMSTB)
  Pentanes+ 6.6 106m3 6.7 106m3
    (41.9 MMSTB) (42.2 MMSTB)
  Sulphur 14.1 106 tonnes 13.3 106 tonnes
    (13.9 MMLT) (13.5 MMLT)



Oil Reserves

The Province's oil production for 2005 calendar year was 1.75 106m3 slighly less than the production volume for the previous year marking the fifth year in a row of flat or decreasing annual production. Thirty-eight oil wells were drilled during the year, a 35% decrease over year 2004. As a result of the decreased level of drilling activity, the remaining oil reserves at December 31, 2005, was 20.9 106m3, which resulted in a decrease of 1.0 106m3, or a 4% decrease from the previous year.

Drilling activity aimed at the discovery of new oil pools, added minimal reserves (IR = 359.9 103 m3) with 11 new pools being discovered, all of which were single well pools. This figure is up from the previous year’s bookings of 154.1 103m3.  The focus of drilling remained on Triassic sediments in the Fort St John area. Another addition was the creation of two new oil fields, Gopher and Ladyfern.  These fields previously carried gas reserves only.

This year’s further decrease in reserve additions compared with 2004, coupled with slightly reduced production rates, give a reserves added per well drilled value of 26.0 103m3. This is up slightly from 2004 but still well below typical long term values . As elsewhere in the Western Canadian Sedimentary basin (WCSB), this decrease may simply be a reflection of the maturity of the BC portion of the basin. The Commission will continue to monitor findings per well and related data.

British Columbia’s oil fields continue to be dominated by secondary recovery schemes.  Waterflood pools account for approximately 43 percent of remaining oil reserves (Table VII) with Boundary Lake continuing to be the dominant contributor. Gas injection is currently occurring in three pools and contributes about one percent to the provincial remaining reserves. The Brassey field is no longer re-injecting gas.


Gas Reserves

Natural gas production for the year was 27.9 109m3, raw, a 5% increase over the preceding year’s production. The production for the year 2005, as reported by the Resource Revenue Branch of the Ministry of Finance was 32.0 109m3 raw.  Due to industry activity during 2005 the provincial natural gas production and reserves are understated by approximately 15% which is 5% less then last year. Ongoing reserve evaluation efforts, along with the addition of a new geologist, will help to capture some of the understated volumes.

The largest increases in reserves was through the Deep Bason Cadomin as noted above.  Re-mapping resulted in the Cadomin zones from Brassy, Cutbank,  Jackpine, Kelly, Noel, and Sundown being amalgamated into one large pool.  The resulting Deep Basin Cadomin A pool added net initial reserves of 53,123.5 106m3. Infill well drilling in the Swan Lake Montney A pool resulted in a net increase in initial reserves of 1,187.3 106m3.

Typical recoverable reserve additions per new well decreased slightly to 83.0 106m3 from 86.0 106m3 in 2004.  The development of plays requiring more than the traditional one vertical well per square mile (e.g., Jean Marie, Cadomin) is expected to see this value decrease further in coming years.

For gas pools on production, the by-products reserves are estimated on the basis of the yield from raw gas reserves achieved at the plant to which the gas is delivered. For pools yet to be connected to a plant, the yields are estimated based on gas composition and capability of the plant to which the pool is expected to be connected.



Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin

Work by the GSC has also identified significant potential in interior and offshore basins that are, to-date, unexplored. Table 2 summarizes the potential estimates of the GSC for these basins.

Development of the offshore basins will require concerted effort on the part of the Provincial and Federal governments to establish an attractive exploratory climate that safeguards the environment and benefits the people of British Columbia. Once such a climate is in place, major financial and resource commitments from industry will be required. As witnessed in the oil and gas developments off the east coast of Canada, large scale projects with long lead times are required to develop such resources.  



Table 2
Hydrocarbon Potential for Frontier Regions

Regions Gas Oil
(109m3) (106m3)
Bowser Basin and Whitehorse Trough 386 400
Fernie Basin 11 143
Georgia Basin (onshore & offshore areas) 183
Nechako Basin 268 810
Queen Charlotte Basin (onshore & offshore areas) 730 1560
Tofino and Winona Basins (offshore areas) 265


1843 2913


Coalbed Gas

Table 3
Coalbed Gas Potential

Area / Basin


Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (NE BC) 1690

Bowser and Nechako Basins


Fernie Basin


Georgia Basin (includes Vancouver Is.)