Sour gas to be mapped in Northeast B.C.

A new study will map poisonous sour gas pools in Northeast B.C. as part of a project to improve safety and cut costs of natural gas production, Geoscience BC announced Thursday.

The research group says the project will map and predict where sour gas and hydrocarbon liquids are found throughout the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in the region, including the Montney, Doig, and Duvernay formations. The project is being led by the University of British Columbia.

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“The Montney, Doig, and Duvernay formations are important areas for natural gas activity, but the distribution of sour gas within these formations is complex," said Dr. Marc Bustin, an earth, ocean, atmospheric sciences professor, and principal investigator for the project.

"By mapping and predicting its location, natural gas production can be safer as well as easier and cheaper to plan.”

Sour gas is a type of natural gas that contains hydrogen sulphide, which is colourless but has the distinct smell of rotten eggs. At levels of just 500 parts per million, it can kill a worker in seconds, according to WorkSafeBC. That creates health, environmental, and economic hazards for operators that come across the gas in the production process, Geoscience says.

"This project will provide detailed maps of produced gases and isotopic analyses, as well as predictive maps of hydrogen sulphide distribution across northeast British Columbia," said Carlos Salas, chief scientific officer and executive vice-president of Geoscience.

"It will also include reservoir production models to help plan resource exploration and drilling programs."

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Project map. - Geoscience BC
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