Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE:CNQ) is focusing the majority of its capital in 2011 into developing various oil properties in North America. These assets include an extensive number of light oil opportunities across the company's portfolio.

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Light Oil
Canadian Natural Resources has allocated $544 million in 2011 to develop light oil properties in North America. The company plans to drill 159 wells during the year and produce between 54,000 and 58,000 barrels of oil per day in 2011. This would be 15% growth compared to 2010 and includes the company's production of natural gas liquids as well.

Canadian Natural Resources will put approximately $500 million in capital into light oil projects annually over the next five years and is targeting annual production growth between 3 and 15%.

Canadian Natural Resources estimates that it has gross proved and probable light oil reserves of 150 million barrels, along with another 83 million barrels of natural gas liquids.

Strategy
Canadian Natural Resources plans to develop the company's light oil assets using secondary and tertiary oil recovery methods along with horizontal exploitation of conventional and unconventional formations.

Canadian Natural Resources has more than 100 existing water flood operations and uses this method to recover additional oil from its properties. The company also injects carbon dioxide and alkali surfactant polymer (ASP) into wells to recover additional oil.

Canadian Natural Resources plans an ASP operation at the Grand Forks project with initial work in late 2011, followed by injection in the third quarter of 2012. The company also has one carbon dioxide flood under way and another planned on its properties.

Other Players
Another company conducting an ASP operation is Rex Energy (Nasdaq:REXX), which is conducting a pilot program at the Bridgeport Field in the Illinois Basin. The company recently reported increased oil flow at several of its wells in the program.

In the Rocky Mountains region, Resolute Energy (NYSE:REN) is involved with carbon dioxide operations at the Aneth field in Utah. Denbury Resources (NYSE:DNR) is also active with carbon dioxide operations in North America and has properties in both the Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountains regions.

Horizontal Light Oil
Canadian Natural Resources plans to use horizontal development on its conventional and unconventional assets. The company plans to drill 100 horizontal wells in 2011 on various properties in Canada.

One area the company is pursuing is the Spearfish formation at the Pierson project. Canadian Natural Resources has already drilled 14 wells here and has 126 future locations to drill. The company is also working to develop the Cardium and Baldonnel formations on its acreage.

The Bottom Line
Canadian Natural Resources has devoted most of its capital in 2011 towards oil development, and is working on various light oil properties across the company's inventory. (For related reading, also take a look at How Does Crude Oil Affect Gas Prices?)

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