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ESR 2002-04

Hydrogeology and Stress Regime of the Upper Cretaceous-Tertiary Coal-Bearing Strata in Alberta

Abstract: The coalbed methane potential and producibility of any coal-bearing strata are strongly affected by the hydrogeological regime of formation waters and by coal permeability, which in turn depends on the effective stress regime of the coal seams. Peat accumulated in the Alberta basin during the late Cretaceous and early Tertiary led to the formation of coal deposits in the Upper Cretaceous Belly River Group and Horseshoe Canyon Formation, and the Upper Cretaceous-Paleocene Scollard and Paskapoo formations. The flow of formation waters in these strata is driven by gravity (topography) and erosional rebound, and is controlled by rock absolute permeability, gas generation and capillary pressure to gas (relative permeability). The permeability of coal seams decreases west-southwestward with increasing burial depth, from the order of several darcies (D) and higher in the shallow (<50 m) zones, to millidarcies and less in the deep zones (>1500 m). The minimum effective stress, which affects coal permeability by closing fractures, increases west-southwestward from zero at the erosional edge of the strata to approximately 20 MPa near the Rocky Mountain deformation front. Fractures, including those in coal seams, will generally be vertical, and will propagate on a southwest-northeast axis along the direction of the maximum horizontal stress. The flow of formation waters indicates that the coalbed methane in deep coal seams in west-central Alberta (Edmonton and Belly River groups) is most likely of thermogenic origin. The gas content of the coal may be quite low, as the underpressuring caused by erosional rebound could have drawn the gas out of coal into the adjacent sandstone units where it has accumulated in stratigraphic traps created by a changing depositional environment. The coalbed methane in shallower coal in and near the subcrop regions of the Upper Cretaceous-Tertiary strata is probably of thermogenic and biogenic origin. These coals seam, although of low rank, may contain significant amounts of late-stage biogenic methane. From the point of view of produced water, the salinity of formation water in shallow coal seams, where the flow is driven by topography, is low, generally less than 1500 mg/l, although in places it may react 3000-5000 mg/l. The salinity of the formation water in the deeper strata in west-central Alberta, where the flow is driven by erosional rebound, is significantly higher, reaching up to 18 000 mg/l. This affects treatment and/or disposal strategies with regard to the water produced concurrent to coalbed methane. From a strictly hydrogeological and permeability/stress regime point of view, the region that probably has good CBM potential and producibility from coal seams in the Upper Cretaceous-Tertiary strata of the Alberta basin extends from the west-northwest, at the top of Scollard-Paskapoo succession, to central and southern Alberta, along and near the subcrop area of the stratigraphically deeper Edmonton and Belly River groups. The deep Edmonton and Belly River strata in western and central Alberta most likely have a reduced CBM potential due to possibly lower gas content and low permeability. These considerations need to be applied against studies of coal thickness, rank and gas content top identify the best targets for CBM exploration and production in Alberta. Place Keywords 72e 72l 72m 73d 73e 73l 73m 82g 82h 82i 82j 82n 82o 82p 83a 83b 83c 83d 83e 83f 83g 83h 83i 83j 83k 83l 83m 83n 83o 83p Theme Keywords coal hydrogeology tertiary

Bachu, S.  Michael, K.  2002-10-01

OFR 2015-07

Investigation of Odours and Emissions from Heavy Oil and Bitumen in the Peace River Oil Sands Area: 3-D Geological Modelling and Petroleum Geochemistry

Report of Recommendations on Odours and Emissions in the Peace River Area), and included the creation of a three-dimensional (3-D) geological model, designing and implementing a petroleum sampling and analysis program, and defining geological plays ... Show Abstract

Anderson, S.D.A.  Filewich, C.  Lyster, S.  MacCormack, K.E.  2015-08-04

OFR 2018-06

Geochronology in Support of the Alberta Table of Formations: Rhenium-Osmium Isotope Dating of Selected Devonian and Jurassic Core Samples from Central and Northern Alberta

Geochronology in Support of the Alberta Table of Formations: Rhenium-Osmium Isotope Dating of Selected Devonian and Jurassic Core Samples from Central and Northern Alberta The samples were collected from core hosted by the Alberta Energy Regulator ... Show Abstract

Pana, D.I.  Creaser, R.A.  Toma, J.  Playter, T.L.  Corlett, H.  Hauck, T.E.  Peterson, J.T.  Grobe, M.  Poulton, T.P.  2018-06-05

OFR 2017-07

First-Order Groundwater Availability Assessment for Central Alberta

First-Order Groundwater Availability Assessment for Central Alberta The aquifer-yield continuum classifies groundwater yield along a spectrum that helps define total groundwater availability and is bound by two extremes: non-use and maximum ... Show Abstract

Klassen, J.  Smerdon, B.D.  2018-02-14

OFR 2017-02

Hydrocarbon Resource Potential of the Duvernay Formation in Alberta - Update

The 2012 assessment of the Duvernay Formation included only the very earliest test wells in the Duvernay and therefore made many assumptions about rock properties, water saturation, fluid distributions, and pressure and temperature regimes. New ... Show Abstract

Lyster, S.  Corlett, H.  Berhane, H.  2017-07-20

DIG 2016-0039

Bedrock Topography of Alberta (gridded data, ASCII format)

The bedrock topography of Alberta is the surface of the top of Upper Cretaceous and Paleogene bedrock, and reveals geomorphic features created by Paleogene to Recent river systems and Quaternary glaciation. The quality of this data has been ... Show Abstract

MacCormack, K.E.  Lyster, S.  Atkinson, N.  2016-06-10

DIG 2017-0024

Groundwater Yield Matrix for Central Alberta (GIS data, polygon features)

Groundwater Yield Matrix for Central Alberta (GIS data, polygon features) The classes within the yield matrix from most conservative to maximum mining are: permissive sustained yield, maximum sustained yield, sustained yield, permissive mining ... Show Abstract

Klassen, J.  Smerdon, B.D.  2018-02-14

DIG 2017-0027

Subsurface Stratigraphic Picks for the Paleozoic Succession in Northeastern Alberta, Townships 59-104, Ranges 1-19, West of the Fourth Meridian (tabular data, tab-delimited format)

Subsurface Stratigraphic Picks for the Paleozoic Succession in Northeastern Alberta, Townships 59-104, Ranges 1-19, West of the Fourth Meridian (tabular data, tab-delimited format) The dataset includes lithostratigraphic picks made from wireline ... Show Abstract

Hauck, T.E.  2018-02-08

DIG 2016-0008

Proximate Analysis Results for Samples of Alberta Geological Units Evaluated for their Shale- and Siltstone-Hosted Hydrocarbon Resource Potential (tabular data, tab-delimited format)

Proximate Analysis Results for Samples of Alberta Geological Units Evaluated for their Shale- and Siltstone-Hosted Hydrocarbon Resource Potential (tabular data, tab-delimited format) The strata evaluated include the: - basal Banff Formation - ... Show Abstract

Rokosh, C.D.  Crocq, C.S.  Pawlowicz, J.G.  Brazzoni, T.  2017-04-24

DIG 2016-0003

Bulk Mineralogy from X-Ray Diffraction Analysis of Alberta Stratigraphic Units Evaluated for Shale- and Siltstone-Hosted Hydrocarbon Resource Potential (tabular data, tab-delimited format)

Bulk Mineralogy from X-Ray Diffraction Analysis of Alberta Stratigraphic Units Evaluated for Shale- and Siltstone-Hosted Hydrocarbon Resource Potential (tabular data, tab-delimited format) The strata evaluated include the - basal Banff Formation, - ... Show Abstract

Rokosh, C.D.  Crocq, C.S.  Pawlowicz, J.G.  Brazzoni, T.  2017-04-24

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