The addition of the prolific Ladyfern discovery in northeast British Columbia, which began flowing one month ago, has sent Alberta Energy Co. Ltd.’s natural gas production soaring, producing more than 150 MMcf/d, the company said Friday. AEC’s current gas production with Ladyfern now equals 1.5 Bcf/d, the highest for any Canadian producer, and 40% higher than the company’s average for all of 2000.

Ladyfern, 100% owned by AEC and about 100 kilometers north of Fort St. John, BC, was first tested less than six months ago (see NGI, Feb. 26), and began flowing May 17.

“Ladyfern is a Canadian success story on several fronts,” said Randy Eresman, president of AEC Oil & Gas. “It’s obviously a tremendous discovery that is helping feed North America’s growing appetite for clean-burning natural gas. In addition, the time from discovery drilling to sales delivery is less than six months, which is a fantastic achievement for a project of this magnitude and remote location.”

AEC raised its 2001 gas sales targets in Ladyfern earlier this year (see NGI, April 23), and Eresman said “that ambitious forecast is now reality.” AEC expects to sell between 1.4 Bcf/d and 1.5 Bcf/d in 2001 with the Ladyfern addition, and even achieving the “middle of this range would result in a 35% rise over 2000 gas sales.” For 2002, AEC expects daily produced gas sales to average between 1.55 Bcf and 1.65 Bcf, a two-year average growth rate of 22%.

Last winter, AEC drilled nine Ladyfern wells on a portion of the company’s 33,000 acres there, and is currently evaluating its 2- and 3-D seismic to select other drilling locations for next winter.

With its current production levels, AEC is targeting gas sales in the second quarter of 2001 to average 1.2 Bcf/d, and expects to inject about 13 Bcf into its AECO C Hub facility in southeast Alberta. AEC also is targeting average daily gas sales of approximately 1.5 Bcf and 1.9 Bcf in the third and fourth quarters.

AEC said it also plans to soon establish “growth platforms” with new exploration ventures in Alaska, the Mackenzie Delta, Australia, the Congo and Azerbaijan. Midstream natural gas storage and pipelines assets comprise almost 20% of the company’s asset base.

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