This is the sixth post in a Well of the Week series detailing how Resource Plays (basin-wide plays in which hydrocarbons are the continuous phase) have often driven Canadian oil and gas industry throughout its history. Links to the previous posts are provided at the bottom of the post.
There was a bit of an interregnum in the WCSB discovery timeline as the industry kickstarted by Resource Plays thrived on a series of conventional discoveries hosted in Devonian reefs and Mississippian subcrop plays. These plays would be eclipsed by the next Resource Play to come along. This week we look at the first play in which the play pioneers fully realized that there is a tiger attached to the tail.
Resource Play: Upper Mannville Deep Basin Gas
Type Well Well UWI: 100/10-01-070-11W6/00
Drilling/Completion Technology: Rotary/Hydraulically Fractured
As outlined in previous posts, our industry exploited Resource Plays without fully realizing the true nature of the play type they were exploiting. That was not the case with the Upper Mannville (also referred to as the Spirit River, Notikewin, Falher and Wilrich).
The Upper Mannville in West Central Alberta anomalously has gas downdip from water with no apparent trap in between. The geologists at Canadian Hunter, the company which discovered the play, realized the nature and extent of this massive gas accumulation and coined the term “Deep Basin” (sometimes referred to as Basin Centered Gas). And in the process of defining the Deep Basin concept, they pioneered many scientific advances. As detailed in the AAPG Memoir on the play, new techniques in hydrodynamics, petrology, petrophysics and sedimentology were developed to come to grips with this resource and understand the trap.
The exploitation of the Deep Basin is well into it’s fifth decade and remains an important part of Canada’s gas supply.
As a final note, I have always found it interesting that the type well used to outline the stratigraphy in a continuous gas accumulation had a water recovering DST among the gas producing tests. Possibly a bit of mischief? Maybe an oversight? Or a clue left for the next generation of geologists to follow up on?
August 12, 2021 Well of the Week – The first gas well in Western Canada
August 19, 2021 Well of the Week – first oil well in Western Canada
September 2. 2021 Well of the Week – Bitumount: The start of something big
September 16, 2021 Well of the Week – The first resource play with legs
Elmworth: Case Study of a Deep Basin Gas Field, Masters, J. A. ed. AAPG Memoir (1984) 38: 316 pp.