Beginning in the 1980s, the Geological Survey of Canada assembled teams of its specialists and those from the petroleum industry and universities to produce estimates of Canada’s oil and gas resources.
The results were published in a series of Survey publications informally called the “blue books” after the colour of their covers. The first, released in 1984, was Oil and Natural Gas Resources of Canada. It set a high standard for incorporating geological data into estimates of conventional petroleum resources, including reserves (discovered), potential resources (inferred to exist but not yet discovered), and speculative estimates of undiscovered resources. Three geologically oriented questions underpinned the petroleum resource estimates: How much? Where? and What degree of confidence can be attached to the estimates? Economically oriented questions concerned rates and costs of development.
The “blue book” estimates were based on the geological and resource occurrence knowledge at the time, and indicated that Canada has large volumes of hydrocarbon resources. They were well received by industry and the public.
Recent developments, particularly hydraulic fracturing, played no part in these estimates. Nevertheless, the reports continue to provide useful and lasting insights into the geology and resources of Canadian basins.
Procter, R.M., Taylor, G.C., and Wade, J.A., 1984. Oil and Natural Gas Resources of Canada, 1983; Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 83-31, 59 p. doi:10.4095/119739
Podruski, J.A., Barclay, J.E., Hamblin, A.P., Lee, P.J., Osadetz, K.G., Procter, R.M., and Taylor, G.C., 1988. Conventional Oil Resources of Western Canada (Light and Medium); Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 87-26, 149 p. doi:10.4095/125326
Wade, J.A., Campbell, G.R., Procter, R.M., and Taylor, G.C., 1989. Petroleum Resources of the Scotian Shelf / Ressources pétrolières de la plate-forme néo-écossaise; Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 88-19, 26 p. doi:10.4095/127058