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sector_ico_Environment_trans Environment

Microbial community structure and function in hydraulic fracturing fluids associated with BC shale gas reservoirs

  • Project Leaders: Steve Hallam, Sean Crowe
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $436510
  • Program/Competition: User Partnership Program
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2014
  • Status: Closed

British Columbia’s natural gas strategy centers on development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector fuelled by shale gas and the province estimates that LNG exports will generate an economic windfall approaching $1 trillion over the next three decades. Shale gas extraction creates challenges for water management and the associated considerations human health risks, immense overhead costs, and decreased well productivity. The team has established collaborative partnerships with several industrial shale gas players including Shell, Progress Energy, Unconventional Gas Resources Canada (UGRC), and BCOG (listed as user partners in the proposed project), to address shale gas development challenges that can be overcome using genomic technologies. The research will apply genomic technologies to chart microbial community structure and function in hydraulic fracturing fluids at different stages of shale gas development, which in turn will inform biotechnology innovation related to operational and environmental challenges identified by the industrial and regulatory user partners. The data will be used by the user partners to improve production practices and surface water management strategies.