Regional Resource Evaluation of the Coal-bed Methane Potential in Alberta
ROTTENFUSSER, B. A., R. J. H. RICHARDSON, G. MANDRYK, W. LANGENBERG, S. TREASURE, and D. NIKOLS, Alberta Geological Survey, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The Alberta portion of the Western Canada sedimentary basin contains over 7.7 x 1012 tons (7 x 1012 tonnes) of coal ranging in rank from lignite to semianthracite. These coals are distributed throughout the mountains, foothills, and plains regions and range from Jurassic to Tertiary in age. Most of the coal in the plains region is subbituminous, while bituminous coals are common in the foothills and mountains. Promising geologic settings for coal-bed methane recovery are found in all three regions.
The first testing of Alberta coals for methane commenced in 1974. The Alberta petroleum industry has recently shown renewed interest, and companies have begun testing samples and acquiring land positions. Resource estimates of the coal in nontraditional mining areas are currently being revised and improved. A resource evaluation study by the Alberta Geological Survey of the coal-bed methane potential of the province has been heavily subscribed to by industry.
The plains coals to a depth of about 400 m were extensively explored and evaluated by the Alberta Geological Survey in the early 1980s. The deep coal resources have received considerably less attention despite being penetrated by thousands of petroleum exploration and production wells. The current resource evaluation study is defining the stratigraphic and structural framework of the coals throughout the province through production of an extensive suite of cross sections and maps. Regional trends in subsurface coal ranks are being defined for the whole province for the first time by collecting hundreds of vitrinite reflectance measurements.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91010©1991 AAPG Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Billings, Montana, July 28-31, 1991 (2009)