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Where is CBM Found?

Understanding Coal Formations

At the moment, most of the CBM production in Canada occurs in Alberta with a few small projects occurring in British Colombia and Nova Scotia. As more coal formations are tested for production, it is important to understand that each formation is unique. This uniqueness means that each location drilled may produce differently. What occurs in Wyoming, United States may not occur in Alberta and what occurs in Nova Scotia may not occur in British Colombia. With little to no common characteristics between coal formations, the process of extraction cannot be predicated upon previous experiences. Accurate assumptions based on previous operations are not possible.

Coal Formations Found Within Alberta

Early mapping of the coal formations in Alberta identified three different types of coal zones that may prove viable for commercial production of CBM. Each of the three zones have unique characteristics.

  1. Ardley Coals

    • These coals produce low volumes of non-saline (i.e. fresh) water. Recent studies are suggesting that in some parts of the province, these coals may be dry.
    • Geological studies suggest that this zone stores an estimated 15 % of Alberta's cumulative CBM resources
    • Wells drilled in this zone make up about 2% of the total CBM wells drilled in the province to date.
    • Currently most production in the Ardley is in an early evaluation phase as both regulators and producers seek more information about the characteristics of the coal, gas and water within the seam

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  2. Horseshoe Canyon Coals

    • These coals are 'dry' meaning they store little to no water and do not produce water as part of the extraction process.
    • These coals are being exploited at shallow depth and do not require surface pumping equipment
    • Geological studies suggest that this zone stores an estimated 25% of Alberta's cumulative CBM resources
    • Wells drilled in this zone make up about 80% of the total CBM wells drilled in the province to date


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  3. Mannville Coals

    • Where these coals are currently being tested they produce saline water (two to three times as salty as ocean water) Alberta regulations require that the produced water from this zone must be re-injected back into the ground in an approved formation.
    • Geological studies suggest that this zone stores an estimated 60% of Alberta's cumulative CBM resources Wells drilled in this zone make up about 18% of the total CBM wells drilled in the province to date
    • Currently most production in the Mannville is in an early evaluation phase as both regulators and producers seek more information about the characteristics of the coal, gas and water within the seam.

    • As of January 2005, there has been no substantial testing of the Scollard, Kootney or Luscar coal seams to understand if the development of CBM is economically viable.
 
 
 
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