Aquifer studies due in BC's Horn River basin

By OGJ editors
HOUSTON, Mar. 31 -- Studies are starting to identify and map aquifers, minimize use of surface water, and guide development of shale gas resources in the Horn River basin of Northeast British Columbia.

First phase work will run on $3.5 million in funding from Geoscience BC, an industry--led, industry-focused, nonprofit society funded by the ministry, and more than $6 million from the Horn River Basin Producers Group.

The purpose of the producers group is to facilitate cooperation and communication between major industry players, key stakeholders, and First Nations.

Companies in the group are Apache Canada Ltd., ConocoPhillips, Devon Canada Corp., EnCana Corp., EOG Resources Canada, Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil Canada, Nexen Inc., Pengrowth Corp., Petro-Canada, Quicksilver Resources, and Stone Mountain Resources.

Phase 1 projects call for compiling and integrating data on potential aquifers in the basin with focus on nonpotable aquifers, water quality, flow, and injection tests from wells, and a 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.

Requests for proposals are to be issued soon for petrographic characterization of potential aquifer zones through examination of drill cuttings of high-priority aquifer formations from more than 60 wells, and hydrogeologic characterization of the basin, including an assessment of distribution of reservoir, fluids, and potential permeability and transmissivity.

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

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