Two years ago, the Cardium Formation in central Alberta was stale and
with well known areas drilled to exhaustion, and fringes deemed
Today, thanks in large part to new technologies that include horizontal
drilling and multi-stage fracturing
("multistage horizontals", as nonsensical as it sounds, is becoming a
the Cardium is once more at the centre of Alberta's recovering energy
The Pembina field is one of Alberta's most mature fields.
It emerged in the late 1950s and became the largest onshore field by
area in the 1960s. The Cardium Formation stood at the center of this oil
field, as it has outstanding storage properties,
the thick overlaying shales of the Wapiabi and Muskiki Formation ensure
while dark underlying shales act as source rocks.
221 million m³ of crude oil and 30.8 million m³ natural gas were
produced between 1953 and 2008 from the Cardium Formation.
Enhanced recovery operations including water and CO2 flood
schemes were tried in the water free Cardium sand.
However, it was horizontal drilling combined with multi-stage fracturing
that dramatically increase the recovery factor.
A host of junior and mid sized oil and gas companies applied the new
(proven already in high profile plays such as the
and Bakken) to the Pembina Cardium. In secrecy at first, the new trend
spread like wildfire within a year,
with more and more operators embracing the idea as oil prices stay
the play extends well outside of the Pembina field, towards the distal
reaches of the Cardium fairway, from the Deep Basin in the north-west,
south towards Calgary and east past Edmonton.
The Cardium Formation is by no means a singular case.
Other plays re-opened on large scale by multi-stage fracs in horizontal
the shallow Notikewin, Glauconite sandstone and Viking Formation,
with smaller scale schemes in the Falher, Cadotte, Wilrich, Dunvegan and
even Nordegg. Many other niche plays are sure to follow.
Chinook Consulting assists oil and gas companies with
of operations pertaining to all areas of the Cardium Fairway.
Several of our wellsite geologists are specialized in this particular
Our company has solid expertise related to the specific drilling process
of the Cardium play.
- Lexicon of Canadian Geologic Units.