Hydrogeological Characterization of the Fox Creek Area, West-Central Alberta
In 2015, a hydrogeological characterization project was started for the Fox Creek area in west-central Alberta. In this part of Alberta, the oil and gas industry has started to develop the liquids-rich shale gas plays in the Duvernay and Montney formations using horizontal multistage fractured wells. This approach to development uses nonsaline water for hydraulic fracturing, which is often sourced from surface water and shallow groundwater.
This project will advance the understanding of the near-surface hydrogeology in this region (focusing on Quaternary, Neogene, and Upper Cretaceous formations) and map groundwater conditions within deeper formations as related to source water and disposal. The project outcomes include
- a 3D hydrostratigraphic framework model of the Quaternary, Neogene, and Upper Cretaceous formations;
- an assessment of groundwater recharge and discharge rates, as well as the interaction between surface water and groundwater;
- development of a conceptual model of nonsaline groundwater circulation; and
- maps of salinity, potentiometric surfaces, and water driving force for saline formations.
The study area is located in the vicinity of Fox Creek, approximately 260 km northwest of Edmonton, and spans portions of the Peace River and Athabasca River basins. The southwest margin of the study area is bounded by the Cordilleran deformation belt, and all other boundaries are aligned with sub-basin drainage boundaries. The study area is approximately 22 000 km2 and encompasses the AER Play-Based Regulation (PBR) pilot area. Reports, digital datasets, maps, and models will begin to be released in early 2016.