Drilling on Oilsands Quest's land began on December 18, 2005, following construction of 52 kilometres (32 miles) of main access road and the installation of a 40-person camp facility. Spacing of the first seven holes averaged approximately 800 metres (2,625 feet). This distance between each hole will allow the Company's independent geological consultants to calculate meaningful resource volumes. The thickness of bitumen-bearing deposits in the six holes that have intersected the McMurray Formation ranges from five to 27 metres (16 to 89 feet).
The hydrocarbon assay of core from the first hole yielded saturations ranging from 12 to 17% by weight, with a weighted average of 15%. By way of comparison, bitumen makes up about 10 to 12% of many commercial oil sands deposits in Alberta (Source: Alberta Energy), with only a few oil sands projects reporting bitumen saturations as high as 15% by weight. At this early stage, no assumption of the commercial viability of the Company's resource potential can be made.
In the first phase of its exploration program, Oilsands Quest plans to drill, core and log 25 core holes. Coring is used to extract a representative sample of the material encountered in the drill hole. The core is sent to independent, certified laboratory facilities where a comprehensive suite of analyses are undertaken on a large number of individual samples. These analyses include a hydrocarbon (bitumen) assay. The process of transporting the sample to the laboratory, conducting the assessment and reporting the results normally takes four to six weeks for each core.
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