October 14, 2010
Geoscience BC Announces Montney Water Project

 Fort St. John (October 14, 2010): Geoscience BC, in partnership with seven natural gas producers and the Government of British Columbia, is pleased to announce today at the BC Energy Conference the launch of the $950,000 Phase 1 Montney Water Project to create a comprehensive data baseline of water resources in the Montney Shale Gas Play area in northeastern British Columbia.

The Montney Shale Gas Play is a world-class unconventional natural gas resource development that is creating significant economic and employment benefits for local communities. In addition, the play is providing economic benefits for all British Columbians, supporting provincial health, education and other social programs.

"B.C. is becoming known around the world for our energy resources, and we're seeing increasing investor confidence and long-term economic opportunities for our northeast communities," said Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Bill Bennett. "The Montney Shale Gas Play is a key resource for us, and this study will help us continue with safe and reliable natural gas development that will benefit all British Columbians."

As with all areas of the province, water is a vital resource in the Montney area, supporting a variety of domestic and commercial uses and activities, as well as First Nation traditional activities and the province's environmental goals. Natural gas producers developing the Montney Shale Gas Play require water for hydraulic fracturing operations to stimulate natural gas production and support drilling camps and infrastructure development. Other commercial uses include agriculture, forestry and mining operations. A wide range of stakeholders including provincial ministries and agencies, local governments, commercial water users and First Nations, as well as the general public, need detailed and unbiased information about existing water resources to make appropriate policies, regulations and permit decisions as well as to support public discussion on issues related to water use.

Geoscience BC and its partners have initiated Phase I of the Montney Water Project to create a comprehensive database of surface water, ground water (less than 250 metres deep) and deep saline aquifers in the Montney area. Phase I, to be completed over the next nine months, will focus on collecting, analyzing and interpreting all available water information. A key component of Phase I will be a detailed analysis of non-potable deep saline aquifers, which may significantly reduce the need for surface and ground water for natural gas development and provide a water source that is too saline for other uses such as residential water supply and agricultural operations. Data compiled for the project will be made publicly available. If required, a second phase of the study will focus research on addressing any remaining data gaps.

"The availability of sustainable water sources is important to the responsible development of British Columbia's natural gas resources in the Montney basin," said Steve Dunk, Manager of BC Operations for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. "A better understanding of underground and surface water sources in the area will benefit government, First Nations, industry and other stakeholders. We are pleased to have an opportunity to partner with Geoscience BC for this important research."

The $950,000 budget for Phase I is composed of funding from Geoscience BC, the Science Community and Environmental Knowledge (SCEK) Fund and seven natural gas producers operating in the area - ARC Resources Ltd., ConocoPhillips Canada, Devon Canada Corporation, Encana Corp., Progress Energy, Shell Canada, and Talisman Energy.

In addition, Geoscience BC will work collaboratively with a number of government departments and agencies to develop the database, including: Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport, B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, Northern Health Authority, as well as the University of Northern British Columbia and the City of Dawson Creek.

"Geoscience BC is very pleased to have the support of seven Montney natural gas developers, the SCEK Fund, and the provincial government to undertake this water study", said 'Lyn Anglin, President and CEO of Geoscience BC. "We have heard from many residents and First Nations in the Montney area as well as government and natural gas producers that an independent scientific evaluation of water resources by Geoscience BC in the Montney area is a critical first step to being able to manage water resources effectively."

Geoscience BC is a not-for-profit society with a mandate to collect, interpret and market geoscience data and expertise to promote investment in resource exploration and development in British Columbia. Geoscience BC is funded by the Provincial Government and works in partnership with industry, academia, government, First Nations and communities to attract mineral and oil and gas investment to BC.

For more information, please contact:

Geoscience BC
'Lyn Anglin, PhD
President and CEO
(604) 290-1194
www.geosciencebc.com

Montney Water Project Partners
 
 

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