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TitleAn overview of Canadian shale gas production and environmental concerns
AuthorRivard, CORCID logo; Lavoie, DORCID logo; Lefebvre, R; Séjourné, S; Lamontagne, C; Duchesne, M JORCID logo
SourceInternational Journal of Coal Geology vol. 126, 2014 p. 64-76,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20130097
PublisherElsevier BV
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceBritish Columbia; Alberta; Saskatchewan; Manitoba; Ontario; Quebec; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Newfoundland and Labrador; Northwest Territories; Yukon; Nunavut; Canada
NTS1; 2; 3; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; 37; 38; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 52; 53; 54; 55; 56; 57; 58; 59; 62; 63; 64; 65; 66; 67; 68; 69; 72; 73; 74; 75; 76; 77; 78; 79; 82; 83; 84; 85; 86; 87; 88; 89; 92; 93; 94; 95; 96; 97; 98; 99; 102; 103; 104; 105; 106; 107; 114O; 114P; 115; 116; 117; 120; 340; 560
Lat/Long WENS-141.0000 -50.0000 90.0000 41.7500
Subjectsfossil fuels; environmental geology; hydrocarbons; hydrocarbon potential; groundwater; groundwater resources; groundwater pollution; environmental studies; environmental impacts; gas; shales; Horn River Basin Shales; Duvernay Formation; Frederick Brook Member; Montney Formation; Utica Shale; Paleozoic; Devonian; Carboniferous; Mesozoic; Triassic
Illustrationslocation maps; tables
ProgramEnvironmental Geoscience Shale Gas - groundwater
Released2014 06 01
AbstractThe risk of groundwater contamination from shale gas exploration and development is amajor societal concern, especially in populated areas where groundwater is an essential source of drinking water and for agricultural or industrial use. Since groundwater decontamination is difficult, or nearly impossible, it is essential to evaluate exploration and production conditions that would prevent or at least minimize risks of groundwater contamination. The current consensus in recent literature is that these risks are primarily related to engineering issues, including casing integrity and surface activities, such as truck traffic (equipment and fluid haulage), waste management (mainly drill cuttings), andwater storage and treatment when hydraulic fracturing is utilized. Concerns have also been raised with respect to groundwater contamination that could result from potential fracture or fault interconnections between the shale unit and surficial aquifers, which would allow fracturing fluids and methane to reach the surface away fromthewellbore. Despite the fact that groundwater resources are relatively well characterized in some regions, there is currently no recognizedmethod to evaluate the vulnerability or risks to aquifers resulting from hydrocarbon industry operations carried out at great depths. This paper focuses on the Utica Shale of the St. Lawrence Platform (Quebec), where an environmental study aiming to evaluate potential risks for aquifers related to shale gas development has been initiated. To provide the context of these research efforts, this paper describes the regional tectono-stratigraphic evolution and current stress regime of the CambrianSOrdovician St. Lawrence Platform, aswell as the Utica Shale internal stratigraphy, mineralogy and thermal maturation. Then, the hydrogeological context of the St. Lawrence Platformis discussed. Finally, the methodology for this environmental study, based on geological, geophysical, geomechanical, hydrogeological and geochemical data, is presented.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Production of hydrocarbons from Canadian shales started slowly in 2005 and has significantly increased since. Natural gas is mainly being produced from shales in the Horn River Basin and from the Montney shales and siltstones, both located in northeastern British Columbia and, to a lesser extent, in the Duvernay Formation in Alberta (western Canada). Other shales with natural gas potential are currently being evaluated, including the Utica Shale in southern Quebec and the Frederick Brook Shale in New Brunswick (eastern Canada). This paper describes the Canadian situation for shale gas exploration and production, including discussions on geological contexts of main shale formations containing dry gas, water use, types of hydraulic fracturing, public concerns and on-going research efforts. As the environmental debate concerning hydraulic fracturing is rather intense in Quebec, the Utica Shale context is presented in more details.

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