Since 1979, Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and other Canadian authorities have been releasing reserves estimates based on the report of the Joint Task Force on Uniform Reserves Terminology to the Inter-Provincial Advisory Committee on Energy (IPACE). This report, while including terms related to petroleum types and recovery methods, defined three main resource/reserve terms; Initial Volume In-Place, Established Reserves (both Initial and Remaining), and Ultimate Potential.

While the IPACE terminology is a simple and useful system, and is well suited to conventional pools, it is not as well suited to continuous accumulations, especially in classifying in-place quantities that are currently being developed from those that have been or those that might be developed in the future. Additionally, its definition of established includes a quantity of less certainty that is not well defined and has been interpreted in several ways. With the increasing importance of unconventional resources, the introduction of newer classification systems by Canadian and international authorities, and the evolving nature of its business, the ERCB began a review of the IPACE terminology.

The review concluded that the IPACE system, particularly with initial established reserves and ultimate potential, is still a very useful classification scheme, especially for resource management, but would benefit from modification to better suit the wide potential of unconventional resources. The most significant potential changes envisaged are the introduction of multiple in-place categories, the alignment of established reserves with "best estimate", and the recognition of established reserves under active development.

Unconventional resources continue to gain importance to the future long term energy supply of Canada and the ability for governments to reasonably classify their full potential is important. Potential modification of the IPACE system recognizes these two issues.

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