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TitleAssessment of potential impacts of shale gas development on shallow aquifers in the St. Lawrence Lowlands, Quebec, Canada
AuthorRivard, C; Bordeleau, G; Lavoie, D; Lefebvre, R; Ladevèze, P; Duchesne, M; Pugin, A; Séjourné, S; Crow, H; Pinet, N; Labrie, D; Aznar, J C; Ahad, J
Source 2015.
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20140429
MeetingAGU-GAC-MAC-CGU 2015 Joint assembly; Montreal; CA; May 3-7, 2015
File formatdoc
Lat/Long WENS -72.0000 -71.5000 46.7500 46.5000
Subjectseconomic geology; fossil fuels; geophysics; fracturing; hydraulic fracturing; petroleum exploration; oil shales; gas; seismic surveys; seismic risk; earthquake risk; earthquake studies; groundwater; soil mechanics; soil samples; drill core analyses; core analysis; aquifers; shales; Utica Shales; Ordovician
ProgramMethodological Development, Targeted Geoscience Initiative (TGI-4)
ProgramShale Gas - seismicity, Environmental Geoscience
AbstractThe Upper Ordovician Utica Shale in the St. Lawrence Lowlands has a shale gas production potential, which was assessed by the industry between 2007 and 2010, until a de facto moratorium was imposed on shale gas exploration in Quebec. A total of 29 wells were drilled in this shale, of which 18 were subjected to hydraulic fracturing. Due to this limited number of wells, the Utica Shale is considered a frontier play and, therefore, the St. Lawrence Lowlands are viewed as a ¿virgin¿ area with regards to fracking. The Geological Survey of Canada initiated a project in 2012 in the St-Edouard area, 65 km south-west of Quebec City, to investigate whether this region is geologically at risk before drilling and fracking activities resume. This area was selected because the Talisman St-Édouard well is the most promising one drilled in the Utica Shale and it is also located in a region where several faults are present. Multi- source data are being used for this study and extensive fieldwork has been carried out, including sampling of groundwater, soil, core and drill cuttings, shallow seismic surveys (~800 m), borehole geophysics in shallow wells (30 to 150 m deep) and hydraulic tests in sediments and bedrock. Furthermore, geomechanical lab tests and chemical lab analyses, as well as interpretation of acoustic logs and deep seismic profiles are being done.
The anticipated outcomes of this work are two-fold. First, this work will provide a better understanding of potential impacts of shale gas development on shallow aquifers through the identification of possible natural connections between deep and shallow geologic formations. Second, the development of a methodology for the estimation of aquifer vulnerability relative to activities occurring at depth will be initiated based on this work. This methodology could serve as a basis for permit allocation and regulations to insure that needed studies are being conducted by the industry along with exploration activities.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
Our work carried out within the framework of the St-Édouard project on the potential link between the Utica Shale and surficial aquifers in St-Édouard, in the St. Lawrence Lowlands, will be described at this conference. The methodology and preliminary results will be presented. We are trying to combine multi-source indirect data to try to identify the origin of the gas present in groundwater of this region.