This project combines geological information and production data from natural gas operations in British Columbia’s Northeast Region to identify and characterize disposal zones for the waste fluids recovered during natural gas operations.
The Montney Play is a gas-prone area within the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in BC’s Northeast Region that contains some of North America’s most significant natural gas deposits.
During natural gas development, wells are drilled and completed. Completion is the process of finishing a drilled well with downhole equipment and any methods required to improve flow from the formation, including hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping a mixture of sand, water and additives into rocks, causing them to fracture and flow natural gas or oil. The well is then flowed-back, a process that recovers fluid and additives and allows natural gas or oil to flow up the well. Once the fracturing fluid has been recovered, additional water may flow back up the well; this is called produced water Produced water could be residual water from the producing zone, groundwater from underlying saline aquifers or a combination of both.
Recovered wastewater is a mix of hydraulic fracturing fluid and produced water. After it is recovered, it is often pumped into disposal zones via a disposal well. Disposal zones are porous and permeable zones within formations, and may include depleted pools where natural gas or oil was previously extracted.
Deciding where to place a disposal well is a complex process, especially in a maturing natural gas production area like the Montney Play where existing disposal zones can be near capacity.
Research is needed to find new disposal zones as natural gas development continues. This work needs to include a multi-disciplinary approach that integrates hydrogeology, geomechanics, reservoir characterization (including petrophysics), and structural geology to evaluate suitable wastewater disposal zones below the base of usable groundwater.
Additional research into wastewater disposal options was recommended in the Scientific Review of Hydraulic Fracturing in British Columbia report published by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources in March 2019.
This project fits under Geoscience BC’s Strategic Objective of ‘Advancing Science and Innovative Geoscience Technologies’ and our goal to:
Specifically, this project is:
Benefits of this project include:
The Montney Play is in BC’s Northeast Region.