Geoscience BC's Natural Gas Atlas Maps the Signatures of Province's Natural Gas Deposits

"Fingerprints" will help locate natural gas deposits and identify sources of greenhouse gas emissions

Vancouver, BC -- September 22, 2016 -- Geoscience BC today announced that it has embarked on the first project of its kind in BC to sample and profile natural gas from producing wells in the northeastern part of the province. The information will improve understanding of where natural gas liquids are located. This will enable gas producers to target higher-value gas streams and optimize gas revenue. It will also help pinpoint potential sources of fugitive natural gas emissions -- resulting from natural gas sector activity. This can aid remediation efforts and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers will systematically catalogue the composition and isotope signature of natural gases produced in British Columbia to establish their geochemical "fingerprints". Researchers will use the BC Oil and Gas Commission's database of natural gas samples. In the next three years, over 2,000 samples will be analyzed, categorized and mapped by University of Victoria researchers. Results from this research project will be incorporated into a BC Natural Gas Atlas, which will be publicly available on Geoscience BC's website starting in 2018.

"British Columbia is a large province with complex geology, and where innovation is putting us at the forefront of a safer, cleaner natural gas sector," said Rich Coleman, British Columbia's Minister of Natural Gas Development. "This new initiative by Geoscience BC is the perfect showcase of how we are able to use technology to further our commitments to environmental protection and responsible development."

"Researchers will use this data in detecting traces of natural gas in groundwater to determine where the gas is coming from and whether it's from natural sources or possibly due to development activity," said Carlos Salas, Vice President of Energy with Geoscience BC. "The ability to detect and identify the source of fugitive gas emissions is critical to the responsible development and monitoring of energy resources in this province and to the health of the environment, First Nations and communities," Salas added.

The BC Natural Gas Atlas is a three-year Geoscience BC-sponsored project, which is being led by Dr. Michael J. Whiticar, Professor, Biogeochemistry at the University of Victoria. The BC Oil and Gas Research and Innovation Society is also supporting the project as a funding partner with Geoscience BC.

"For the first time, the people of BC will have a publicly available, comprehensive picture of the types and distributions of natural gas deposits in the province. The BC Natural Gas Atlas will aid us in understanding subsurface variations and resource potential of natural gas. It will also provide vital diagnostic information on fugitive versus natural, pre-existing background levels of gases in ground waters and our air sheds," emphasized Dr. Whiticar.

For more information on the BC Natural Gas Atlas, please visit

For additional information, please contact

Bas Brusche
Vice President, External Relations
Geoscience BC
Office: 604-662-4147
Cell: 778-968-0136

About Geoscience BC

Geoscience BC is an independent, non-profit organization that generates earth science information in collaboration with First Nations, local communities, governments, academia and the resource sector. Our independent earth science enables informed resource management decisions and attracts investment that creates jobs. We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the province of British Columbia.

Follow Us On Twitter Follow Us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook