Collaborative Horn River Basin Aquifer Study - Phase 1

March 30, 2009-Geoscience BC and the Horn River Basin Producers Group have launched a number of collaborative geoscience projects to identify and map subsurface aquifers in the Horn River Basin (HRB). The Horn River Basin Aquifer Study will establish the suitability of selective water reservoirs to provide for future exploration and development opportunities of shale gas within the Basin. Phase 1 projects will be supported with approximately $3.5 million in funding from Geoscience BC and over $6 million of in-kind contributions from the Horn River Basin Producers Group.

"British Columbia has created one of the most competitive jurisdictions for oil and gas investment in North America and is committed to the responsible development of our oil and gas resources," said BC Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Blair Lekstrom. "Supporting this collaborative geoscience research will help minimize impacts from development of shale gas resources in the Horn River Basin."

The goal of the project is to reduce the surface footprint of development in the Basin by reducing the use of surface water, minimizing the impact on potable water, and facilitating orderly development through collaborative research and knowledge sharing among geoscience researchers and the members of the Horn River Basin Producers Group. The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources geoscience staff will also be contributing to aspects of the research work.

"The Horn River Basin Producers Group is excited to be working jointly with Geoscience BC to collect and analyze data on selected subsurface aquifers," said Rob Spitzer, Chair of the HRB Producers Group. "The Producers Group is an innovative collaboration between natural gas producers working to minimize surface impacts from shale gas development in the Horn River Basin, and this initiative will help achieve this objective."

This project work has been supported by the Province of British Columbia, through a $5.7 million grant from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources to Geoscience BC, and by members of the Horn River Basin Producers Group through in-kind and cash contributions.

"The shale gas in the Horn River Basin is an enormous new contribution to the gas resources of British Columbia," said Dr. 'Lyn Anglin, President and CEO of Geoscience BC. "Geoscience BC is pleased to be assisting the companies and the government in this collaborative effort to generate some of the geoscience research and knowledge that will help us develop these resources in an environmentally sustainable and economically efficient way."

The Horn River Basin Producers Group consists of 11 of the companies involved in the Horn River play, namely: Apache Canada Ltd., ConocoPhillips, Devon Canada Corp., Encana, EOG Resources Canada, Imperial Oil Resources/ExxonMobil Canada, Nexen Inc., Pengrowth, Petro-Canada, Quicksilver, and Stone Mountain Resources. The purpose of the group is to facilitate cooperation and communication between major industry players, key stakeholders and First Nations in the area.

Geoscience BC is an industry-led, industry-focused not-for-profit society. Its mandate includes the collection, interpretation and marketing of geoscience data and expertise to promote investment in resource exploration and development in British Columbia. Geoscience BC is funded through grants from the Provincial Government and works in partnership with industry, academia, government, First Nations and communities to attract mineral and oil & gas investment to BC.

For more information, please contact:

'Lyn Anglin, Ph.D., P.Geo. President and CEO Geoscience BC (604) 290-1194

Geoscience BC - Horn River Basin Producers Group
Collaborative Horn River Basin Aquifer Study.

Phase 1 projects include:

  1. Compilation and integration of all existing data on potential aquifers in the Basin, with a particular focus on subsurface, non-potable, aquifers.
  2. A series of water quality, flow and injection tests from Horn River Basin Producers Group wells throughout the Basin.
  3. Pilot project using ground Induced Polarization and resistivity geophysics to test mapping of near surface water channels inferred from 3D seismic and high resolution airborne magnetic data.

In addition, Requests for Proposals will be issued in the near future for:

  1. Petrographic characterization of potential aquifer zones in the Horn River Basin, through examination of drill cuttings of high priority aquifer formations from more than 60 wells throughout the Horn River Basin.
  2. Hydrogeologic characterization of the Horn River Basin, including an assessment of distribution of reservoir, fluids and potential permeability and transmissivity.

(See Geoscience BC's website ( for more details on the Request For Proposals.)

Phase 2 projects will be identified and prioritized based on the results of Phase 1 projects.