Northern Oil Prospect Re-Examined
- G. David Quirin (University of British Columbia)
- Document ID
- Petroleum Society of Canada
- Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- July 1965
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 148 - 151
- 1965.Petroleum Society of Canada
- 7.1 Asset and Portfolio Management
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- 76 since 2007
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This paper updates a study made five years ago, reviewing the main pointsand noting how changed conditions may affect the economies of oil production inthe Arctic Islands and the northern mainland. Wellhead prices and possiblemarkets are estimated; offshore development is a new factor. The paperconcludes with a consideration of the effects on Prairie production andpossible government controls to regulate oil production in the North.
I have dealt at length, in a monograph, with the basic factors affecting thefeasibility of oil and gas development in northern Canada (1). That study wasprepared five years ago, and conditions have changed. The purpose of this paperis to review the main points made in my earlier study, and to see how changedconditions may have affected the prospects for northern oil development. Thedevelopment of any natural resource industry in a given geographic setting isthe result of a partly fortuitous, partly controllable combination of factorsphysical, technological, political and economic - which together make possiblethe profitable exploitation of the underlying resource. Emphasis must be placedon the word profitable, for development which is not profitable is sheer waste,puts more into the ground than will ever come out, benefits no one, and isunlikely to be viable in the long run. I propose to review these factorsbriefly as they apply in this case.
As the underlying basis for the development of any natural resource industryis the resource itself, I will examine the physical factor first. Compared withthe state of our knowledge five years ago, our knowledge of the intimatepetroleum geology of the Canadian North has increased enormously, thanks to thedrilling programs carried out in the intervening period. However, it would bemore accurate to say that what has been achieved is a slight reduction in ourenormous ignorance. We've had a few surprises, and perhaps found a few placeswhere the oil isn't, and we can expect to find a few more of these before wefind out where the oil is.
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