Geoscience BC Announces Collaborative Horn River Basin Water Study Phase II Activities

September 9, 2011 -Geoscience BC and the Horn River Basin Producers Group have launched Phase II of a collaborative geoscience project to undertake baseline research on water resources in the Horn River Basin. Phase II of the Horn River Basin Water Study expands and builds on the deep saline aquifer research completed in Phase I, to include surface and ground water hydrological research.

"British Columbia is committed to a safe and responsible oil and gas sector," said BC Minister of Energy and Mines, Rich Coleman. "This research will help protect B.C.'s water resources and will ensure our province continues to implement best practices for natural gas production."

Specifically, Phase II of the Horn River Basin Water Study includes three core components:

  • A three-year surface water study focused on collecting data on the quantity and quality of surface water sources in the Horn River Basin and assessing its availability for shale gas development. Kerr Wood Leidal Associated Ltd. (KWL) is carrying out this work with assistance from Peace Country Technical Services and Environmental Dynamics Inc. The program has commenced and KWL is currently working with local First Nations and the Horn River Basin Producers Group to finalize the program components.
  • A previously announced pilot project to examine the applicability of airborne electromagnetic surveys to mapping of near-surface groundwater. The data collection was completed in April 2011 by SkyTEM Canada Inc. Interpretation of the results is underway.
  • A continuation of the Phase I data collection and integration on select deep saline aquifers. This research, done by Petrel Robertson Consulting Ltd. and Canadian Discovery Ltd., has already produced significant results and has supported shale gas producers reducing their use of surface water for shale gas development in some parts of the basin.

This project work is supported by the Province of British Columbia through grants to Geoscience BC, and by the Horn River Basin Producers Group and individual member companies.

"The Horn River Basin Producers Group is pleased to continued working with Geoscience BC, building on the success of the Phase I research," said Rob Spitzer, Chair of the Horn River Basin 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."

To date, individual companies operating in the Horn River Basin are undertaking specific studies to better understand local surface and ground water. In addition, the Ministry of Energy and Mines recently completed an initial evaluation of surface and ground water resources in the Horn River Basin. As surface and ground water supply will undoubtedly play a key role in the development of the basin, there is a need to establish hydrological conditions in the key watersheds and sub-watersheds within the basin. This will provide government, the pubic, First Nations and industry with a better understanding of the basin-wide water supply sources being used for the development of the shale gas reserves.

"The Horn River Basin is an incredibly important resource opportunity for British Columbia, and research is required to provide baseline data on water resources the region." 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 BC's natural gas resources in responsible 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