Is the Viking light oil play underappreciated? And despite its low profile, are acquisitions coming soon?
The popularity of multi-stage fracturing techniques in horizontal wells took off in the Viking in late 2007 as companies tried to extract oil they knew was there but couldn't reach. Their success helped lead to wider use of the fracking technology in western Canada, particularly in older basins.
But now the Viking is an afterthought.
"We believe the Viking play has somewhat lived in the shadows of the other popular light oil trends such as the Cardium, Montney, Bakken and Beaverhill Lake plays due to lack of headline grabbing initial production rates observed," FirstEnergy Capital analysts said in a note Monday. "While true, the economics of this play are still very competitive, the results appear to be more predictable than most others, and given the legacy well control in region, the resource footprint is already solidly delineated."
One of the Viking's advantages is cost. Because of its shallow depth, it is "relatively" cheap to drill there compared to other geological formations where horizontal wells with multi-stage fractures are necessary to suck up oil, FirstEnergy said. This opens the door for companies large and small.
Crescent Point Energy Corp., Whitecap Resources Inc., and Raging River Exploration Inc., are "best positioned to capture appreciable shareholder value through this play," the analysts said. Meanwhile, Renegade Petroleum Ltd., Novus Energy Inc., WestFire Energy Ltd. and Charger Energy Corp. "could be of interest to the aforementioned area aggregators."