© Frank Gale photo
Ali Chaisson, manager of commercial and regulatory affairs with Investcan Energy Corp., addresses the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce.
Although many companies have been exploring for oil for decades in western Newfoundland, it's still a frontier area with the wells being considered wildcat.
That's according to Ali Chaisson, manager of commercial and regulatory affairs with Investcan Energy Corp., a company carrying out exploratory work in the Bay St. George area.
He was a guest speaker at the regular monthly meeting of the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce on last week, where he outlined what people in the area can expect to see from a planned pilot project by the company.
Mr. Chaisson said one of the things learned through petroleum exploration to date is that unconventional resources are going to be needed to get the oil to surface in western Newfoundland.
That's because of the type of geology in the region, which poses an engineering problem for the companies doing the exploration.
Mr. Chaisson explained there are three types of oil-bearing rocks in the region, including shale, tight and cold bed methane.
He said the type the company he is with is dealing with in the Flat Bay area is tight.
The fact that they had a gas find in the area is positive news and now the company is studying the science of the area to determine where it moves next.
Mr. Chaisson said a "lot of shirts have already been lost" trying to make the big find in the area and that Investcan Energy Corp. would compile as much data as possible as it moves forward.
"Too many companies have rushed out to drill wells. We have to acquire all the data collected over the years and need to talk about fluid viscosity. It's all about science," he told the chamber members in attendance.
"If we work hard enough with good partners, everything is doable, but in the end we will have to let the rocks decide." Ali Chaisson
Mr. Chaisson said tight geological formations usually have oil in shallow wells that is cold, so it requires secondary and tertiary methods to make that oil come to the surface.
He said water or steam would be their preferred injection fluid; however, it's possible some other type of injection fluid may be required.
The company is looking at drilling in 2013 in the Flat Bay area near Test Hole 7, which is the one that they've had the most positive results to date.
In that hole the company plans to do every test possible, coring it, logging it to death and drilling to what is known as the basement, where the granite is located.
"We want to push it to the extreme to get as much data as possible," said Mr. Chaisson.
He said the risk with unconventional exploration is high, due to geological risk, a risk of inefficient injection and the fact that oil is always between two faults, so the fault structure has to be understood.
"It's high risk, but if you happen to hit it has good rewards," he said. "Tight oil represents the most promising source of hydrocarbon production in western Newfoundland."
Mr. Chaisson said Investcan Energy Corp. respects the land and the company is all about sustainable production.
"If we work hard enough with good partners, everything is doable, but in the end we will have to let the rocks decide," he said.