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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – While word that BC’s crude oil production is at its highest level in nine years, that won’t likely lead to a boom like that seen in North Dakota in recent years, according to some.

Oil analysts at Raymond James in Calgary say B.C. is becoming an emerging oil basin thanks to wells drilled by Calgary oil-and-gas producer ARC Resources in the Tower region, about 40 kilometres south of Fort St. John. Other companies that own land nearby, including Crew Energy and Tourmaline Oil, are expected to join the rush.

The pool of oil extends about 100 kilometres from east to west and could ultimately prove to be as prolific as the best oil plays in Alberta and Saskatchewan. B.C. oil production peaked at about 100,000 barrels per day in 1998, statistics from the province show, but has fallen off dramatically since then as fields were depleted and investment dried up.

During a conference call in February, ARC’s CEO Myron Stadnyk said that three of the Tower Montney wells ARC drilled in 2015 were closing in on cumulative production of 100,000 barrels of oil. The wells are expected to cover costs and become profitable in less than a year at current prices. According to an ARC presentation, the wells break even at Cdn$30 per barrel. ARC estimates it has about 9.7 billion barrels of light oil originally in place on its Tower lands. Only a fraction of that is likely to be recoverable.

Speaking with, Art Jarvis, who is an Executive with Energy Services BC says that though the find is excellent news for the local oil and gas industry, the find isn’t large enough to create a boom that will result in a large number of jobs suddenly becoming available.

With files from the Canadian Press

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