This region is located along the border of British Columbia and Alberta west of Edmonton. The majority of the Company’s initial holdings in the region were obtained through the 2002 acquisition of Rio Alto Exploration; subsequent to 2002 the Company augmented these holdings with additional land purchases, acquisitions and in 2006 the purchase of the Anadarko Canada Corporation assets.
Canadian Natural has large net unproved properties of 1.8 million net acres in conjunction with 26 operated facilities and an extensive pipeline network that provides significant competitive advantage. In Northwest Alberta, Canadian Natural produces liquids rich natural gas from multiple, often technically complex horizons, with formation depths ranging from 700 to 4,500 meters.
The Anadarko Canada Corporation acquisition added two very prospective properties to this region, Wild River and Peace River Arch. The Wild River assets provide a premium developed and undeveloped land base in the deep basin, multi-zone gas fairway and the Peace River Arch assets provide premium lands in a multi-zone region along with key infrastructure. In Wild River, we have achieved sustainable cost control by reducing the number of drilling days per well and now routinely commingle up to 12 geological zones, decreasing the average cost of completion per zone by as much as 50% through limited entry fracs. Most notably, we have increased the reserves per well while reducing the cost to drill new wells.
In the Deep Basin our Lower Doig/Montney resource project is similar in many ways to the Wild River area. Again, we are using our land and infrastructure to reduce the cost of entry into this emerging resource play. Our initial position in the Montney was greatly enhanced by the timely acquisition of Anadarko Canada Corporation. We capitalized on our existing land position at that time, giving us early exposure to the play. This allowed us to acquire strategic sections of prime Montney land at a fraction of today’s cost.
The southern portion of Northwest Alberta provides exploration and development opportunities in the regionally extensive Cretaceous Cardium formation and in the deeper, tight gas formations throughout the region. The Cardium is a complex, tight natural gas reservoir where high productivity may be achieved due to greater matrix porosity or natural fracturing. The south western portion of this region also contains significant Foothills assets with natural gas produced from the deep Mississippian and Triassic aged reservoirs.