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Field Assessment of Subsurface Migration, Groundwater Impacts and Fate of Fugitive Methane from Energy Resource Development in a Northeastern British Columbian Setting

Lead Proponent: University of British Columbia. Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences
Location: Area around Fort St John, BC
CEI Contribution: $ 1,616,717
Project Total: $ 2,432,967
Strategic Area: Methane and VOC Emissions

Project Objectives:

Sources of fugitive methane emissions (unintended methane that escapes during extraction, production and processing) are poorly understood and can be released during conventional and unconventional oil and gas development via multiple pathways (e.g. energy well casing failure) resulting in subsurface migration, groundwater impacts and greenhouse gas emissions to atmosphere.

This project will undertake a multidisciplinary methane investigation in a shallow groundwater system in Northeastern British Columbia (Fort St. John area) to rigorously characterize the evolution of a leakage event and emissions to atmosphere.

The results will provide insight on fugitive methane; allowing fundamental science questions regarding gas migration and groundwater impacts to be addressed and emissions to be measured. Furthermore this world class, multidisciplinary methane investigation will allow rigorous assessment of currently available monitoring and detection methodologies and therefore aid the design and implementation of efficient and effective monitoring strategies.

Expected Results

The results from this study will increase understanding on the fundamental science of subsurface fugitive gas leakage from energy resource development including its potential environmental impacts and inform the regulation of fugitive methane monitoring protocols, both in groundwater and in air. Knowledge gained from the project will then be used to increase efficiency and efficacy of response to a methane release event from oil and gas development and ultimately lead to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Canada.

Project Partners:

University of Calgary
Geoscience BC

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