Dynamic geothermal reservoir modeling in the Clarke Lake Gas Field, NE British Columbia

Project code: 2015-001

Project type: Geothermal

Proponent: Nick Harris & Jonathan Banks, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta

Project location: Clarke Lake Gas Field, northeast British Columbia

Researchers are building a three-dimensional (3D) model of the Clarke Lake geothermal reservoir in northeast British Columbia -- a potential site for BC's first geothermal power plant -- using geological and hydrogeological information from existing oil and gas wells in the area.

The Need
There is high potential for using geothermal sources to generate power and heat in British Columbia, yet there is no geothermal power generation in British Columbia. Geothermal energy uses the heat stored in rocks and groundwater below the surface and is a clean, sustainable and "always on" form of renewable energy. In the United States, geothermal power stations produce 3.7 gigawatts of power, enough to power 3.7 million homes. (read more)

The Clarke Lake Field in northeast British Columbia has been identified as a prospective site for a geothermal power plant. Over one hundred gas wells have been drilled, providing valuable data about conditions below the surface.

Before any commercial development can proceed, it is necessary to create detailed models of the field to fully understand the rock layers, structures as well as the characteristics of the groundwater. This model will provide interested groups and developers with an assessment of the potential geothermal resource, and the detailed information necessary to plan make informed decisions about the development of a power plant.

Project Goals
This project aims to:

  • A comprehensive feasibility study of producing geothermal energy at the Clarke Lake Field;
  • A 3D reservoir model of the Slave Point Formation beneath the Clarke Lake Field;
  • A simple thermal, hydraulic, mechanical and chemical model for producer-injector well pair (a pair of water-filled horizontal drill holes designed to create a closed loop to maximize heat recovery from depth);
  • A standard template for geothermal reservoir assessments; and
  • An educational database of the thermodynamic, petro-physical, hydrogeological, and geochemical properties of the Slave Point and Keg River formations in the Clarke Lake Field.

Project Benefits
Geothermal has the potential to play a significant role in the long-term energy strategy for BC as the province transitions to alternative sources of energy for electricity and heat. The project researchers consider Clarke Lake Field to be a good potential candidate for constructing Canada's first geothermal power plant. This project provides data to lower exploration risk and help land managers, governments and communities make informed decisions about any future development.

Survey Area
The Clarke Lake Field is located about 14 kilometers southeast of Fort Nelson, in the far northeast of British Columbia. It is in the Horn River Basin, BC's second largest natural gas basin, that stretches from south of Fort Nelson north to the BC/Yukon border.

How was the data collected?
Unlike other potential geothermal resources in British Columbia, the Clarke Lake reservoir has been extensively explored and exploited for gas production. The resulting sample sets and data from these activities, including core, core analyses, well production records, and well logs, allow for modeling of geothermal energy production at Clarke Lake without the need for costly and time-consuming field exploration.

What was found?
Final reports to be released at completion of project.

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