This region extends just south of Edmonton north to Fort McMurray and from the Northwest Alberta area extending into western Saskatchewan. Over most of the region, both sweet and sour natural gas reserves are produced from numerous productive horizons at depths up to approximately 1,500 meters. In the southwest portion of the region, NGLs and light crude oil are also encountered at slightly greater depths. The region continues to be one of the Company’s largest natural gas producing regions.
Natural gas in this region is produced from shallow, low-risk, multi-zone prospects and more recently from the Horseshoe Canyon coal bed methane. The Company targets low-risk exploration and development opportunities and plans to expand its commercial Horseshoe Canyon coal bed methane project. Evaluation of the potential production of coal bed methane from the Mannville coals commenced in 2006 with the drilling of three horizontal wells. The three well pilot was deemed not commercial and the wells were suspended in 2008.
The Southern Plains area is principally located south of the Northern Plains area to the United States border and extending into western Saskatchewan.
Reserves of natural gas, condensate and light gravity crude oil are contained in numerous productive horizons at depths up to 2,300 meters. Unlike the Company’s other three natural gas producing regions, which have areas with limited or winter access only, drilling can take place in this region throughout the year. It is economic to drill shallow wells with reduced well spacings in this region despite having smaller overall reserves and lower productivity per well since they achieve a favourable rate of return on capital employed with low drilling costs and long life reserves. The Company’s extensive shallow gas assets in this region were augmented by the 2006 acquisition of Anadarko Canada Corporation.
The Company maintains a large inventory of drillable locations on its land base in this region. This region is one of the more mature regions of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and requires continual operational cost control through efficient utilization of existing facilities, flexible infrastructure design and consolidation of interests where appropriate.