World Class Assets
Canadian Natural’s strong, low-risk asset base is developed via prudent capital allocation to maximize returns. This is key to Canadian Natural’s successful and proven strategy. Other elements of the strategy include effective execution of our defined growth plan, growth through the drill bit along with growth through opportunistic acquisitions, maintaining balance in all parts of the business, striving to be the most effective and efficient producer in every basin in which we operate, and finally, dominating core focus areas through land, infrastructure and area knowledge.
Canadian Natural maintains a large, balanced portfolio of assets with production and development of both natural gas and crude oil. North America operations serve as our foundation with international exposure provided through operations in the UK portion of the North Sea and Offshore Africa.
Canadian Natural has the largest undeveloped land base in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) with a large infrastructure position. North America assets consist of conventional and unconventional natural gas, along with projects in crude oil, including primary, secondary and tertiary light, medium and heavy production, in situ oil sands and oil sands mining.
Canadian Natural is the second largest independent producer of natural gas in Western Canada. Our natural gas assets are strong, leveraged by a vast land base, well developed infrastructure and a deep, diversified inventory of drilling prospects. Conventional and unconventional natural gas production is concentrated in five North American core regions: Northwest Alberta, Northeast British Columbia, the Foothills, the Northern Plains and the Southern Plains.
Canadian Natural continues to access and develop new natural gas opportunities, focusing on growing an already strong location inventory and optimizing existing production.
Q1/13 Natural Gas Activity
Crude Oil and NGLs
Canadian Natural is the largest producer of heavy crude oil in Canada with a competitive advantage through its vast land base. We balance heavy production with light crude oil, in situ oil sands, light synthetic upgraded oil sands, Pelican Lake medium crude oil and production of natural gas liquids. Production is balanced as are project time horizons with near, mid and long term projects focusing on long-term value creation through a defined plan for profitable growth.
Canadian Natural’s heavy crude oil production is focused on the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. We benefit from an extensive and dominant land position which allows for large scale drilling and development programs while minimizing capital cost requirements. Costs are further managed through owning and operating centralized treating and sand handling facilities, maximizing their utilization and achieving economies of scale. Primary production of heavy crude oil typically recovers between 5%-15% of OOIP, leaving a vast unrecovered resource that will ultimately be exploited through improved recovery techniques.
Canadian Natural produces light crude oil and NGLs in all of the western Canadian core regions. The majority of the light pools are mature but as in heavy oil production, recovery factors are modest with recovery rates improving as new technology and EOR techniques are implemented.
The Pelican Lake field is a premium asset within Canadian Natural’s crude oil portfolio, having had great success first with waterfloods followed by polymer floods. Pelican Lake is a large, shallow medium crude oil pool initially developed for primary production. Parts of the field were converted to waterflood, resulting in a significant production increase. Building on that success, polymer flood was tested and subsequently introduced, again resulting in significant increases in production. The application of the higher viscosity polymer flood increases oil recovery due to reduced fingering or breakthrough, which can happen when waterflooding.
Canadian Natural believes we hold some of the best oil sands assets in North America, particularly thermal in situ properties. These assets will provide tremendous value and growth potential. Located in two of the major oil sands deposits in Western Canada – the Athabasca and Cold Lake – the thermal in situ properties are developed using both cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) and steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) techniques. Our thermal operations are an integral part of our defined plan.
Q1/13 North America Crude Oil Activity
Horizon Oil Sands
Another development in Canadian Natural’s world class oil sands assets is the Horizon Oil Sands. Rather than in situ production, Horizon includes a surface oil sands mining and bitumen extraction plant, complimented by on-site bitumen upgrading with associated infrastructure, ultimately producing high quality synthetic crude oil. Canadian Natural holds extensive leases with a massive resources base, with the mine and plant facilities expected to produce for decades to come without the production declines normally associated with conventional crude oil production. The Horizon Oil Sands are located just north of Fort McMurray, Alberta in the Athabasca region.
Q1/13 Horizon Oil Sands Mining and Upgrading Activity
Canadian Natural’s International operations provide a stable and committed source of light crude oil production. The Company leverages their experience in mature, low-risk, exploitation basins (similar to those found in our core area, the WCSB in North America,) to those found offshore. International efforts are concentrated in two core areas – the UK portion of the North Sea, and in Offshore Africa, specifically Offshore Cote d’Ivoire and Offshore Gabon. In all International properties, the focus is on generating free cash flow while setting up for future expansion.
In the North Sea, attention is focused on managing existing infrastructure in a mature basin leading to field life extension, providing additional recovery potential in a low-risk environment, along with generating significant free cash flow. Mature basin exploitation is one of Canadian Natural’s core competencies and this area provides long-term development in a low-risk, high-value area.
The Offshore Africa assets again deliver high-value, light crude oil, providing development opportunities with significant exploration upside with some of the highest returning projects in the company. Canadian Natural has capitalized on a unique government relations niche while leveraging technical and operational expertise from the North Sea operations.
In Offshore Cote d’Ivoire, the Espoir development is produced from two reservoirs - East and West Espoir – located roughly 60 kilometers southwest of Abidjan, capital of Cote d’Ivoire. The field is developed through highly deviated wells and the use of water injection and other recovery techniques to achieve superior flow rates. The light crude is then processed, stored and offloaded via a floating production storage and off-take (FPSO) vessel.
Also in Offshore Cote d’Ivoire is the Baobab field. Baobab is located roughly 8 kilometers south of Espoir in deep water. As with Espoir, Baobab uses an FPSO to process, store and export the crude oil. Long term plans for the field include a cautious and cost conscious approach towards its development.
In Offshore Gabon, the Olowi field is located approximately 20 kilometers offshore in shallow waters. Canadian Natural is the operator and holds a 90% interest in the asset. Long term plans include sustaining and optimizing production.
Q1/13 International Crude Oil and Natural Gas Activity