Geoscience BC Releases Report 2011-11: Deep Subsurface Aquifer Characterization in support of Montney Tight Gas Development

March 23, 2012 -Geoscience BC is pleased to announce the release of Geoscience BC Report 2011-11 "Deep Subsurface Aquifer Characterization in support of Montney Tight Gas Development: Geological Report". This report is now available for download from

About Report 2011-11

As part of the Montney Water Project, Geoscience BC commissioned Petrel Robertson Ltd. and Canadian Discovery Ltd. to undertake a study of deep saline aquifers in the Montney play, similar to work completed for the Horn River Basin in 2010.

Horizontal wells and multiple hydraulic fracture stimulation technology have unlocked immense gas resources in the Montney tight gas / shale gas play fairway of northeastern British Columbia. However, these operations require large quantities of water. Deep subsurface aquifers carrying saline waters are ideal sources and sinks for the water volumes required.

The project was divided into Plains and Foothills study areas, based primarily on subsurface stratigraphic and structural aspects. In the Plains, potential aquifers ranging from Middle Triassic Halfway to Upper Cretaceous Cardium were assessed. The best aquifer characteristics -- thick net porous sandstones, high storativity, good to excellent potential deliverability, moderate to low salinities, and little or no H2S -- were found in the Cadomin and Nikanassin aquifers. The Baldonnel, Bluesky, and Peace River formations offer more modest aquifer characteristics, but may still have local importance.

In the Foothills, potential aquifers range from the Mississippian Debolt to the Lower Cretaceous Bluesky; younger Cretaceous strata have shaled out in this area. In general, more extensive diagenetic degradation has reduced aquifer quality in the sandstone reservoirs, compared to the Plains Study Area. Aquifer quality in Debolt and Baldonnel carbonates is difficult to assess from logs, but test data indicate variable aquifer quality, with waters of moderate salinity and some H2S present. Foothills drilling and gas production are focused on the crests of regional northwest-southeast structural (anticlinal) trends, so there are insufficient data to adequately characterize aquifer quality off-trend.

Funding for this work was provided by the Montney Water Project, a collaborative effort between Geoscience BC, industry partners and the BC government, with support from the Science and Community Environmental Knowledge (SCEK) Fund. The Montney Water Project is designed to provide a comprehensive inventory of water sources and potential for deep geological disposal sites in the Montney Gas Play area, by creating a comprehensive database of surface water, ground water and deep saline aquifers in the Montney area.

For more information on the Montney Water Project, go to:

Geoscience BC

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.