UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Geology and Geochemistry of the Hydrocarbon Compositional Changes in the Triassic Montney Formation, Western Canada Chalmers, Gareth R. L.; Lacerda Silva, Pablo; Bustin, Amanda A.; Sanlorenzo, Andrea; Bustin, R. M.


The geochemistry of produced fluids has been investigated in the Triassic Montney Formation in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). Understanding the geochemistry of produced fluids is a valuable tool in the exploration and development of a complex petroleum system such as the Montney Formation. The petroleum system changes from in situ unconventional reservoirs in the west to more conventional reservoirs that contain migrated hydrocarbons to the east. The workflow of basin modeling and mapping of isomer ratio calculations for butane and pentane as well as the mapping of excess methane percentage was used to highlight areas of gas compositional changes in the Montney Formation play area. This workflow shows the migration of hydrocarbons from deeper, more mature areas to less mature areas in the east through discrete pathways. Methane has migrated along structural elements such as the Fort St. John Graben as well as areas that have seen changes in higher permeability lithologies (i.e., well 14-23-74-8W6M). Excess methane percentage calculations highlight changes due to fluid mixing from hydrocarbon migration. The regional maturation polynomial regression line was used to determine the gas dryness percentage for each well on the basis of its maturation level determined by the butane isomer ratio. The deviation from the calculated gas dryness according to the regression was determined as an excess methane percentage. The British Columbia (BC) Montney play appears to have hydrocarbon compositions that reflect an in situ generation, while the Montney play in Alberta (AB) has a higher proportion of its hydrocarbon volumes from migrated hydrocarbons. The workflow provides a better understanding of the hydrocarbon system to optimize operations and increase production efficiency. Understanding the distribution of gas compositions within a play area will provide key information on the liquid and gas phases present and an understanding of how gas composition may change over the well life, as well as helping to maximize liquid recovery during well operations.

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