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Encyclopedia > Western Canadian

The Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) is a vast sedimentary basin underlying 1.4 million square kilometres (550,0000 sq. mi.) of Western Canada including southwestern Manitoba, southern Saskatchewan, Alberta, northeastern British Columbia and the southwest corner of the Northwest Territories. It consists of a massive wedge of sedimentary rock extending from the Rocky Mountains in the west to the Canadian Shield in the east. This wedge is six kilometres thick under the Rocky Mountains, but thins to zero at its eastern margins. The WCSB contains one of the world's largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas and supplies much of the North American market, producing more than 16 billion cubic feet per day of gas in 2000. It also has huge reserves of coal. Of the provinces within the WCSB, Alberta has most of the oil and gas reserves and almost all of the oil sands. The term sedimentary basin is used to refer to any geographical feature exhibiting subsidence and consequent infilling by sedimentation. ... Square kilometre (US spelling: Square kilometer), symbol km², is an SI unit of surface area. ... A square mile is an English unit of area equal to that of a square with sides each 1 statute mile (≈1,609 m) in length. ... Western Canada is a geographic region of Canada, also known as simply the West, generally considered to be west of the province of Ontario. ... Motto: Gloriosus et Liber (Latin: Glorious and free) Capital Winnipeg Largest city Winnipeg Official languages English and French, per mandate of the Constitution Act 1982 Government - Lieutenant-Governor John Harvard - Premier Gary Doer (NDP) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament - House seats 14 - Senate seats 6 Confederation July 15, 1870 (5th... Motto: Multis E Gentibus Vires (Latin: From many peoples strength) Capital Regina Largest city Saskatoon Official languages English Government - Lieutenant-Governor Gordon Barnhart - Premier Lorne Calvert (NDP) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament - House seats 14 - Senate seats 6 Confederation September 1, 1905 (Split from NWT) (9th (province)) Area Ranked 7th... Motto: Fortis et liber(Latin) Strong and free Capital Edmonton Largest city Calgary Official languages English (see below) Government - Lieutenant-Governor Norman Kwong - Premier Ed Stelmach (PC) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament - House seats 28 - Senate seats 6 Confederation September 1, 1905 (split from Northwest Territories) (8th [province]) Area Ranked... Motto: Splendor Sine Occasu (Latin: Splendour without diminishment) Capital Victoria Largest city Vancouver Official languages English Government - Lieutenant-Governor Iona Campagnolo - Premier Gordon Campbell (BC Liberal) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament - House seats 36 - Senate seats 6 Confederation July 20, 1871 (6th province) Area Ranked 4th - Total 944,735 km... Motto: none Capital Yellowknife Largest city Yellowknife Official languages Chipewyan, Cree, English, French, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey, TłįchÇ« [1] Government - Commissioner Tony Whitford - Premier Joe Handley (Consensus government (no party affiliations)) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament - House seats 1 - Senate seats 1 Confederation 1870... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Confectionary Company, see Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. ... Canadian Shield The Canadian Shield— also called the Precambrian Shield, Laurentian Shield, Bouclier Canadien (French), or Laurentian Plateau— is a large shield covered by a thin layer of soil that forms the nucleus of the North American craton. ... km redirects here. ... Pumpjack pumping an oil well near Lubbock, Texas Ignacy Łukasiewicz - inventor of the refining of kerosene from crude oil. ... Natural gas is a gaseous fossil fuel consisting primarily of methane but including significant quantities of ethane, butane, propane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, helium and hydrogen sulfide. ... World map showing North America A satellite composite image of North America. ... It has been suggested that Thousand Cubic Feet be merged into this article or section. ... Coal Coal (IPA: ) is a fossil fuel formed in swamp ecosystems where plant remains were saved by water and mud from oxidization and biodegradation. ...



Improved seismic and drilling technology, higher recoveries from existing pools through infill drilling, and efficient, cost-effective exploration and development of smaller pools are maintaining levels of conventional oil production in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. As the basin matures, the resource triangle with few large pools at the top, and many small pools at the base is being economically pursued deeper into the smaller pool segment as a result of these efficiencies.

Conventional oil

The WCSB is considered a mature area for exploration of petroleum[1] and recent development has tended toward natural gas and oil sands rather than conventional oil. In the WCSB, conventional oil should be viewed as being of two different types, light crude oil and heavy crude oil, with different costs, prices, and development strategies. Conventional light oil is a mature industry with most of the recoverable oil reserves already produced and production declining by three to four percent per year. Conventional heavy oil is thought to be at or near its production peak with a future of long-term decline. Pumpjack pumping an oil well near Sarnia, Ontario Ignacy Łukasiewicz - inventor of the refining of kerosene from crude oil. ... Light crude oil as opposed to heavy crude oil contains a low content of wax. ... Heavy crude oil is the type of crude oil which is characterised by the presence of high amount of wax in it, as compared to light crude oil which contains a lesser amount of wax. ... The Hubbert peak theory, also known as peak oil, is an influential theory concerning the long-term rate of conventional oil (and other fossil fuel) extraction and depletion. ... Main article: Hubbert peak theory Oil depletion is the inescapable result of extracting and consuming oil faster than it can be replaced. ...

For light oil, the petroleum industry searching for the remaining small undiscovered pools, drilling infill oil wells, or redeveloping existing larger pools using enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques such as waterfloods, miscible floods, and carbon dioxide injection. Currently, only about 27 percent of light oil is recovered, leaving large opportunities for improvement. The oil industry is a type of industry which brings petroleum to a financial market. ... An oil well is a term for any perforation through the Earths surface designed to find and release both petroleum oil and gas hydrocarbons. ... Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) is a technique for increasing the amount of oil that can be extracted from an oil field. ... The chemistry term miscible refers to the property of various liquids that allows them to be mixed together. ... Carbon dioxide is a chemical compound composed of one carbon and two oxygen atoms. ...

For conventional heavy oil, the industry is exploring new zones in undrilled portions of the basin to find remaining small undiscovered pools, or to apply EOR schemes such as water floods, thermal projects, and miscible floods such as the Vapour Extraction Process (VAPEX) technology. Only 15 percent of heavy oil is currently being recovered, leaving a large volume for future recovery.

Oil sands

There are three major oil sands areas, all in Alberta, with reserves that dwarf those of the conventional oil fields.[2] These are the Athabasca Oil Sands, the Cold Lake Oil Sands and the Peace River Oil Sands, which contain initial oil-in-place reserves of 260 billion cubic metres (1.6 trillion barrels), an amount comparable to the total world reserves of conventional oil. According to the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB), Alberta's oil sands areas contain an ultimately recoverable crude bitumen resource of 50 billion cubic metres (315 billion barrels), with remaining established reserves of almost 28 billion cubic metres (174 billion barrels) at year-end 2004. Open pit mining Tar sands, also referred to as oil sand or bituminous sand, is a combination of clay, sand, water, and bitumen. ... The Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada. ... Cold Lake (2005 population: 11,595) is a city in northeastern Alberta, Canada, named after the lake it is situated near. ... The Peace River (French: rivière de la Paix) is a river in Canada that originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows through northern Alberta. ... The cubic meter (symbol m³) is the SI derived unit of volume. ... Traditional wooden barrels in Cutchogue Modern stainless steel beer barrels - also called casks or kegs - outside the Castle Rock microbrewery in Nottingham, England For other uses, see Barrel (disambiguation). ... The Ministry of Energy is a Cabinet-level agency of the government of the Canadian province of Alberta responsible for coordinating policy relating to the development of mineral and energy resources. ... Bitumen is a mixture of organic liquids that are highly viscous, black, sticky, entirely soluble in carbon disulfide, and composed primarily of highly condensed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. ...

As a result of the oil price increases of 2004-2006, the number of major mining, upgrading and thermal in-situ projects has grown to some 46 existing and proposed projects, encompassing 135 project expansion phases in various stages of execution. Estimates of capital expenditures to construct all announced projects over the period 2006 to 2015 total $125 billion. This extremely high level of activity has caused a severe labor shortage in Alberta and driven unemployment rates to their lowest level in history – the lowest of all 10 Canadian provinces and 50 U.S. states.[3] This is the main factor limiting growth of oil sands production in the WCSB. This article or section contains speculation and may try to argue its points. ... This article is about mineral extraction. ... In situ is a Latin phrase meaning in the place. ... Capital expenditures (CAPEX) are expenditures used by a company to acquire or upgrade physical assets such as equipment, property, industrial buildings. ... A Labor shortage is an economic condition in which there are insufficient qualified candidates (employees) to fill the market-place demands for employment at any price. ... An 1837 political cartoon about unemployment in the United States. ...

Natural gas

Canada is the third largest producer and second largest exporter of gas in the world, with the vast majority of it coming from the WCSB. The WCSB is estimated to have 143 trillion cubic feet of marketable gas remaining (discovered and undiscovered), which represents about two thirds of Canadian gas reserves. Over half of the gas produced is exported to the United States.

However, Canadian gas reserves represent less than one percent of world reserves and are rapidly becoming exhausted. The majority of the large gas pools have been discovered and a significant portion of the discovered reserves has been produced. Production from the basin peaked in 2001 at around 16 billion cubic feet per day and is predicted by the National Energy Board to be likely to decline from that level.[4] The overall decline rate increased from 13 percent per year in 1992 to 23 percent in 2002, which means 3.8 billion cubic feet per day of production must be replaced each year just to keep production constant. With the basin being largely explored and operators finding less gas with each new well, this seems improbable. New gas reserves in the WCSB will likely come from unconventional sources such as coalbed methane (CBM).[5] Coalbed methane, or coalbed gas, refers to methane deposits in the pores of coal seams. ...

The Western Canada Sedimentary Basin will likely continue to be the main gas supply area in Canada for many years, however, declining production and the likelihood that much of the gas will be diverted to fuel new oil sands plants mean that the probability of there being sufficient surplus gas to meet projected U.S. demand is low, and the US will have to look elsewhere for future gas supplies.[6]


The WCSB contains about 90 percent of Canada's usable coal resources.[7] Their rank ranges from lignite to semianthracite. About 36 percent of the total estimated 71,000 megatonnes of usable coal is bituminous, including a high proportion of medium to low volatile coals. The low sulphur content and acceptable ash levels of these bituminous coals make them attractive as coking feedstocks, and large quantities are mined for that purpose. However, the lack of heavy industry in Western Canada means that only a limited amount of this coal is consumed in Canada, and most is exported to Japan, Korea and other countries. The lower rank coals are used mainly for electricity generation, where the existence of shallow coal seams with little overburden make strip-mining and reclamation easy, and low sulphur levels reduce the environmental impact of their use.[8]


  1. ^ NEB (2005). Short-term Outlook for Canadian Crude Oil to 2006. National Energy Board. Retrieved on 2006-09-25.
  2. ^ NEB (2006). Canada's Oil Sands - Opportunities and Challenges to 2015: An Update. National Energy Board. Retrieved on 2006-09-25.
  3. ^ StatsCan (2006). The Alberta economic juggernaut. Statistics Canada. Retrieved on 2006-09-25.
  4. ^ NEB (2003). Short-term Natural Gas Deliverability from the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin 2003-2005. National Energy Board. Retrieved on 2006-09-20.
  5. ^ Russum, D.; Botterill, A. (2006). Comparing Opportunities in a Mature Basin: Examples from the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Search and Discovery. Retrieved on 2006-09-20.
  6. ^ Hughes, David J. (2004-06-21). "North America’s Natural Gas Crisis: The Big Picture Overview and the Roll of Unconventional Gas" (PDF). Canadian Gas Potential Committee. Retrieved on 2006-10-06.
  7. ^ Cameron, A. R.; Smith, G. G. (1991). "Coals of Canada : distribution and compositional characteristics". International journal of coal geology 19 (1-4): 9-20. ISSN 0166-5162. Retrieved on 2006-10-03. 
  8. ^ Alberta Department of Energy (2005). About Coal. Retrieved on 2006-10-03.

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External links

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin

  Results from FactBites:
Western Canada - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1135 words)
Western Canada, also known as the Western provinces or simply the West, is a region of Canada normally including all parts of Canada west of the province of Ontario.
BC is considered to be part of the Canadian geographical region known as the Western Cordillera, while the three provinces to its east are situated on the Prairies.
In Canadian politics, the term "the West" is often used as shorthand for the supposedly Conservative leanings of Western Canadians, as contrasted with the supposed liberalism of Central Canada.
Canadian Western Bank - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (258 words)
The Canadian Western Bank TSX: CWB is a bank that is based in Edmonton, and which operates primarily in western Canada.
The bank was formed in 1988 by amalgamation of the Western and Pacific Bank of Canada (chartered in 1982) and the Bank of Alberta (chartered in 1983).
CWB is a member of the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) and registered member with the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), a federal agency insuring deposits at all of Canada's chartered banks.
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