Laricina Energy


Founded in 2005, Calgary-based Laricina Energy is focused on creating value through developing a diverse portfolio of oil sands assets that leverage technology, in-house expertise and the opportunities offered by pursuing lesser known, less mature projects. In only five years, the company has established five project development areas, totalling 73,590 net hectares.

If you ask President and CEO Glen Schmidt how his company has done so well, he’ll point to his team’s broad range of skills. “Our success starts with the skills and those skills are wide ranging,” he says. “It’s not just the engineering, geological or technical ability; it also includes the financial and organizational side. The founding team has the right combination of skills to run a great company. They also bring in the enthusiasm and passion for accomplishing things—such as entrepreneurship and willingness to take the risks. Sharing the same goals and having the right skills is really what drives the development of the company.”

These collective skills set the stage when the company began. Laricina’s first steps were prospecting, identifying opportunities and really looking at the basic characteristics, such as real estate, scale, quality and proximity to infrastructure. “You need to be in the right spot in oil and gas,” says Schmidt. “And within a reasonable time frame, you bring it to production or your standard assets don’t have value. As a company, Laricina Energy was very focused on building out that inventory. Having done that, we are now in the stage of very systematically developing it—not only doing what has been done, but very much focusing on those incremental, innovative steps that let you optimize or further enhance the economics.”


Exclusively interested in the development of in situ bitumen deposits in sand and carbonate formations, Laricina Energy has a pilot project under construction (Saleski) and another one (Germain) moving towards commercial development. The three additional development areas are in early-stage exploration and technical evaluation.

Laricina is working actively in the field as well as the laboratory to advance, along the technology curve and is applying its findings to producing projects. Laricina’s project portfolio provides exposure to the familiar McMurray Formation sands play, as well as the less developed and less mature Grand Rapids Formation and the Grosmont carbonates, where Laricina is a recognized industry pioneer.

The company’s most recent resource estimate by GLJ Petroleum Consultants Ltd., independent reservoir engineers, indicates net bitumen-in-place totalling 11 billion barrels, 4.6 billion barrels of which are considered recoverable. Current projects are considered to have net production potential of more than 350,000 barrels per day of bitumen.

‘Fully aligned’

For an industry (and region) that gets a lot of global attention for environmental issues, Schmidt sleeps well. “Laricina is always working to find ways in which we can continue to enhance our production economically and environmentally,” he assures. “Everything we do to save operating and capital costs ends up having a positive environmental impact. When people look at the sector, they’re always asking, ‘Are we misaligned?’ And, quite frankly, we are fully aligned.”

“Everything that uses a smaller footprint uses less land, less energy and saves capital,” Schmidt adds. “The industry is very much incented to continue to reduce [its footprint], and, looking at the technical side, we are much more focused on that because that’s how small companies compete. We can prospect well, but we always have to look for ways to do it better. We have to be quite systematic at how we implement it so we can demonstrate those efficiencies and, of course, recoup the value, because we’re an industry that consumes capital.”

Perhaps it was this sort of dedication that put Schmidt on the radar for Alberta’s Top 50 Most Influential People list. Ask him, however, and he’ll get bashful. “I think they were very kind,” he says, “and I would say I display the same characteristics as most people that are active in the energy sector in Calgary, which is having a passion for what we do. If you are passionate about something, then you want to share those ideas. And in sharing those ideas, it’s clearly with the investment community. Yes, we raise capital, but it’s also with the government and the communities we work within. You’ve seen the ongoing basis on dams between the industry and government. We regulate how we do things, so we can derive the benefits in a controlled way, but also in a way that enhances economic development for the region. I think you will find the executives in most oil and gas companies would be very active in those dialogues and discussions. I think the Top-50 article is in recognition of that.”

New ideas

Moving forward, Laricina Energy has a lot on its plate. First is construction on the Germain project, which starts this fall. “In the energy or mining sector, you have to have new ideas, and our new idea is exploiting bitumen in the carbonates,” says Schmidt. “It’s the second-largest play in bitumen production in Canada and we’re the first company that will be implementing full operations within the project. We’re very excited about that.”

“Following that, bringing the next tool to bear is steam insolvent. When we add solvents to steam for the extraction of bitumen in oil we will see a lesser carbon footprint on oil sands than the carbon footprint on imported crews. That is going to be quite exciting and that is and will be happening now.”

As for the industry as a whole, Schmidt sees a bright future. “I think people can be proud of the work that is being undertaken. People can be proud of the company. I’m not really speaking about Laricina here, as much as the industry. We do very good work and when people evaluate the performance of energy companies and energy provinces or jurisdictions, Canada ranks No. 1 or 1A with Norway. We have large numbers of very qualified individuals who have a great regulatory structure, so that passion is delivering positive results,” he concludes.

“Going back to that carbon footprint, if you dissect every aspect of our business, from how we operate safely, to how we’re looking to apply technology, to how we work with communities, I think people can be proud of their businesses.”