This paper summrizes the results of a statistical analysis or gas discovery rates in Alberta. A simple graphical method of analysis was applied to available historical data to provide an estimate of the ultimite gas potential of Alberta indicated by any trend in the data. The results obtained by this manual procedure were checked by computer regression analysis using a simple mathematical model. More than one set of data was examined to provide a range of estimates and thus to permit judgment to offset the built-in biases of any one set. An attempt to rationalize the different estimates obtained was also made to provide a most probable value within the estimated range. It is concluded that the ultimate gas potential of Alberta indicated by extrapolating past trends is in the range 95 to 125 top of marketable gas with a most probable value of 110 Tcf.
The determination of tile hydrocarbon (gas and oil) bearing potential of the various regious of Canada is of vital importance to the petroleum exploration industry and in the formation of government Energy policies. Various techniques are available to make these assessments. For example, estimates can be made of the volumes of sediments remaining to be explored and a Judgment factor applied to these to arrive at possible hydrocarbon yields. In more mature regions where some exploration has taken place, statistical analysis techniques can be applied to historic discovery rate data and projected to forecast future discovery rates and ultirmate potential. Alberta is an example of such a mature region.
In forecasting future discovery rates and ultimate potential, it is important to recognize that the volume of oil or gas which can be produced economically from any region is less than the volume contained in the sediments of that region. The volume of the resource that is contained in the sediments is fixed and finite. However, the volume that can be produced economically is a variable dependent upon produc1.ng costs and product prices. It follows that the ultimate potential of oil or gas cannot be determined without reference to the economics of alternative energy resources. Relative economics of the various energy sources available in the future will finally fix the ultimate potentials of both gas and oil.
It is emphasized the work reported herein is not a complete assessment of the ultimate potential of natural gas for Alberta. It is only an assessment of the ultimate value indicated by the extrapolation of the long term trend in gas discovery rate data for the province. This would be a valid ultimate potential estimate if future economic conditions continue to change essentially the same as in the past.
The case in which the controlling economic parameters are assumed to change essentlal1y the same as in the past is a useful starting point in making a valid assessment of the ultimate potential of oil or gas. Under these circumstances it is reasonable to assume that past trends will continue into the future.