SOURCE: Geoscience BC

Geoscience BC

July 24, 2015 12:00 ET

Geoscience BC Releases Study Results Identifying Water Disposal Zones in Northeast BC

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - July 24, 2015) - Geoscience BC and partners BC Oil and Gas Commission, BC Oil and Gas Research and Innovation Society and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers are pleased to announce the release of a project that builds on current geological knowledge for the addition of safe deep disposal areas for water and fluids from producing wells and hydraulic fracturing operations. This work will support continued sustainable development of natural gas in northeast BC. There are presently 101 disposal wells in northeast B.C., which the BC Oil and Gas Commission (BC OGC) regulates. Information from this project will help the energy sector and the energy regulator locate new disposal sites in support of future drilling and economic development in the region.

The study examines the hydrogeological and geomechanical aspects of two subsurface rock formations in northeast B.C. -- the Belloy and Debolt formations -- and assesses the potential for injected fluids to fracture the rock and suggests limits for injection pressures. These limits are significantly higher than the limits prescribed and monitored by the BC OGC. The geomechanical and hydrogeological study components also address concerns related to potential drinking water contamination. In March of this year, initial work performed by Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd. was released on reservoir characterization and geologic favourability mapping, which helped define the two focus areas for this analysis.

Both publicly-available data and a small amount of project stakeholder data were used to constrain geomechanical properties in the Belloy and Debolt formations in the defined study areas. Results are limited by both data availability and the limited evaluation of geomechanical risk. This study is, however, useful for a regional perspective on potential fluid injection sites, though specific injection programs should not be planned without site-specific data gathering and geomechanical modeling.

"The BC Oil and Gas Commission regulates deep disposal wells in B.C. and appreciates the knowledge and effort incorporated in this study," said Ron Stefik, the Commission's Supervisor of Reservoir Engineering. "It provides valuable regional context to support the selection and regulation of disposal sites within the Belloy and Debolt formations. This information will benefit both companies seeking suitable disposal locations, and the Commission in the rigorous assessment of disposal well applications and continuous monitoring of active disposal wells."

"As natural gas production in northeastern British Columbia develops in the future, so too will the need for the continued safe disposal of waste water from hydraulic fracturing operations," said Geoff Morrison, manager of British Columbia operations with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. "This important research will help operators in the region to identify geological formations where waste water can be permanently stored in an environmentally responsible way."

"Geoscience BC is committed to enabling responsible resource development for the benefit of all British Columbians," stated Geoscience BC's Vice President Energy Carlos Salas. "The Deep Aquifer Fluid Disposal Project was designed in collaboration with the BC Oil and Gas Commission to provide data to facilitate the safe and sustainable disposal and storage of waters used in the production of natural gas."

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