Alberta Conventional Oil Ouptut Up for First Time in 16 Years

Alberta's conventional oil production rose for the first time in 16 years last year, as shale-oil drilling ramped up in Canada's oil-rich province, the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board said.

Conventional oil production increased 7% to 490,000 barrels a day in 2011, the first rise since 1995.

Shale oil production using horizontal drilling and fracturing techniques has unlocked vast new supplies of light oil in the U.S., and is being adopted in shale and "tight" formations in Canada as well.

The ERCB report also said that unconventional oil production of raw oil sands, called bitumen, would more than double over the next 10 years to 3.7 million barrels a day from 1.7 million barrels a day last year.

Oil reserves in the province grew 4% to 170.2 billion barrels last year due to new drilling and reserve calculations. Alberta holds the world's third-largest oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.


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