Database Updates to Boost Ability to Evaluate Natural Gas Sources and Potential Leaks

Vancouver, BC – December 3, 2020 – New data and a new processing script will help to make Geoscience BC’s BC Natural Gas Atlas (BC-NGA) an even more valuable tool to understand natural gas resources in British Columbia’s Northeast Region, and potentially aid in identifying natural gas leak sources.

The BC-NGA includes an open-access geochemical database containing analyses of publicly available samples of major natural gas types found in northeast BC. The database contains gas chemistry with molecular and isotope data, as well as geochemical ratios and calculated parameters for gas ‘fingerprinting’ and subsurface mapping. These help to identify the potential source of natural gas leaks into aquifers, groundwater or air, with the potential to help meet the CleanBC target to reduce methane emissions from upstream natural gas operations by 45 per cent by 2025. They can also help to improve natural gas exploration efficiency by helping to map valuable natural gas liquids in the subsurface. The BC-NGA is led by Dr. Michael Whiticar at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria.

Data from Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) will soon be added to the project. Starting in December 2020, samples from 112 CNRL producing gas wells from formations throughout northeast BC will be processed by AGAT Laboratories Ltd and the University of Alberta, with results added to the database.

Also, the database is being further improved with the addition of a quality control and assurance (QA/QC) script that improves the reliability and provides quality assessment to the data.

Geoscience BC Executive Vice President & Chief Scientific Officer, Carlos Salas, said: “The new additions provide assurance of the quality of data in the BC Natural Gas Atlas, while the new samples will expand the database’s reach. I would like to thank CNRL for their valuable contribution of key data to the project, and thank those companies that have contributed in the past. We urge other operators to consider taking part in the project.”

The BC-NGA is offered to help improve natural gas production efficiency in northeast British Columbia, while also serving in the future as a valuable tool for identifying sources of potential natural gas leaks.

Carbon isotope data in the BC-NGA are used to predict hydrocarbon occurrence types (e.g. oil-associated or gas-only fields), and potentially to optimize identification of natural gas liquids.

The ability to detect and identify if a gas is emitting from a shallow biological source or is due to hydrocarbon development is critical to monitoring and remediating natural gas leaks into aquifers, groundwater or air.

More information about the BC-NGA is available on the Geoscience BC website and at, where a .csv export of the BC-NGA is available.

Accessing Information
View the project pages 2015-013 for more information.

View project page          View project in Earth Science Viewer

About Geoscience BC
Geoscience BC generates independent, public geoscience research and data about British Columbia’s minerals, energy and water resources. This advances knowledge, informs responsible development, encourages investment and stimulates innovation.

Our collaboration with the resource sectors, academia, communities, Indigenous groups and government develops and shares unbiased and credible earth science research and data.

Geoscience BC is a not for profit society incorporated under the BC Societies Act.

Visit or follow us @GeoscienceBC to find out more.

For more information, please contact:
Richard Truman
Geoscience BC

Join the Geoscience BC mailing list to receive the latest updates