Upcoming Division Talk

Construction and Applications of an Enhanced Geothermal Gradient Map of Alberta and British Columbia
Neil Watson, Geology Director | Enlighten Geoscience Ltd. 

Location: geoLOGIC Room (2nd Floor), Aquitaine Tower, 540-5th Avenue S.W., Calgary

September 10, 2019, 12:00noon

*CSPG members can register for free and track their CPD hours!

The Geothermics of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) has gained increasing prominence recently given its potential as a source of renewable low carbon energy. Understanding regional variations in the geothermal gradient (GTG) also has implications for oil and gas exploration and exploitation. These include carbon capture and sequestration  (Bachu, 2002), petrophysics and source rock maturity.

Temperature and pressure are the primary data sources for evaluating the subsurface. These data are also alone in providing information of the state of the rocks far from the wellbore.  All other data are taken from within the wellbore (cuttings and core) or are derived from measurements and only represent properties within a couple of metres from the wellbore (e.g. conductivity, sonic, density, neutron). As a result, the GTG is one of very few ways to gain a relatively unfiltered view of the Earth.
Bachu and Burwash (1994) provided an excellent example of a regional GTG map across the WCSB based on data from 1,473 wells. An enhanced version of this map has been created using current mapping and data processing techniques using temperature data from over 68,000 wells selected over a data set of over 147,000 bottomhole buildup tests.   The significantly larger data set has allowed for a much higher resolution GTG map. Previous GTG maps have used an arbitrarily selected average surface temperature which can result in significant errors in the GTG calculation. This updated map has been further refined by using modern GIS techniques to assign more accurate surface temperature values based on 30 years of weather station data rather than assuming an average surface temperature.

Use of a high resolution GTG map and its derivatives, such as reservoir temperature, has abundant applications. Practical and theoretical examples of applications of this updated GTG map will include highlighting in situ heavy oil viscosity variations and over-burden removal.

Neil began his career at Gulf Canada where early assignments in the Foothills and Peace River Arch helped him develop a strong understanding of the relationship between structure and sedimentation. He honed his skills as lead explorationist at a series of start-ups, contributing to their growth to mid-level producers. He has spent the last decade directing a diverse group of technical experts in a series of multi- and single-client consulting projects ranging from comprehensive basinal Resource Play studies to smaller scale M&A and prospect evaluations.  Neil holds a B. Sc. In Geology from the University of Alberta.

Bachu, S., 2002. Suitability of the Subsurface in Northeastern British Columbia for Geological Sequestration of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide. Alberta Geological Survey, Alberta Energy and Utilities Board.
Bachu, S. and Burwash, R.A., 1994. Geothermal regime in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. In: Geological Atlas of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. G.D. Mossop and I. Shetsen (comps.). Calgary, Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists and Alberta Research Council, chpt. 30.

Division Profile
Vision: to educate CSPG Members about the Global Geothermal Industry through knowledge sharing from integrated geoscientific disciplines with the goal of highlighting the highly relevant skills of hydrogeologists, petroleum geologists, mining geologists, geophysicists and geomechanics specialists.  Special focus will be given to emerging Canadian Projects.

The Division will hold a series of brown bag lunches annually.

Lunch talks will start with a “snapshot of a producing geothermal project” alternating between igneous and sedimentary plays. 
Preliminary ideas for talks in 2019-2020:
      1) Geothermal 101 – focus on play types (including igneous), the global production of geothermal energy and the uses of geothermal energy.  
      2) An overview of the nascent Canadian Geothermal Industry – focus on research and development and emerging plays 
      3) Characterization of geothermal resources – focus on key parameters for defining resources/reserves and how to determine them.  
      4) Mapping hydrothermal reservoirs or hot sedimentary aquifers – a workflow for getting started.  Highlighting the relevant skill sets of hydrogeologists and petroleum geologists (Part 1).  
      5) Spotlight on new technologies – drilling, surface facilities or subsurface and the implications for development.
      6) Geo-Modelling of geothermal reservoirs
      7) Case Studies of existing geothermal plays 

Division success is dependent on Member interest and enthusiastic volunteers with a passion for knowledge sharing.  If you have an idea for a talk please contact Jeanine Vany at