HUDSON’S HOPE, B.C. – Geoscience BC researchers have now gained some valuable insights into the movement and measurement of natural gas and its impacts on groundwater.

The Assessment of Fugitive Natural Gas on near-Surface Groundwater Quality project, published by Geoscience BC, investigates the physical and biogeochemical processes that impact gas migration.

The Hudson’s Hope Field Research Station, located 20 kilometres north of Hudson’s Hope, was where researchers looked into a gas mixture mimicking Montney natural gas released under controlled conditions into the subsurface. Various monitoring methods were able to trace movements and environmental effects.

In 2018, 97.5 cubic metres of the gas mixture was measured using attributes before, during and for two years after the gas was injected. Researchers discovered that the bulk of the gas remained in the subsurface. Some of the remaining gas migrated to the surface areas along natural and human-caused pathways, but a majority was trapped by impermeable layers and dissolved into the groundwater.

“The current findings suggest that gas migration in the early time after the release of natural gas did not lead to degradation of groundwater quality. Based on data from the first two years, the impact on groundwater geochemistry included no significant changes in major or trace elements,” said Geoscience BC in a release Wednesday.