Sedimentary Basins of B.C.

Last updated on March 3, 2016

Regional Basins

Vancouver Island

Limited drilling without commercial success has been conducted within the onshore regions of the Georgia Basin, both on eastern Vancouver Island and in the Fraser Valley. Of the 56 wells drilled since 2000, only 16 have reached depths in excess of 1,000 metres; therefore, most of the basin's potential remains unevaluated.

Recent assessment by the Geological Survey of Canada has estimated that as much as 185 billion m(6.5 Tcf) of in-place natural gas exists in three conceptual play types within the Georgia Basin.  Available geochemical information indicates little potential for oil. However, Vancouver Island contains an estimated 1.1 Tcf of CBG, and in early 2002 the first coalbed gas-targeted well began drilling in the Comox area. In addition, several other proponents are evaluating similar CBG exploration programs.

Offshore Basins

B.C.'s offshore regions have been closed to drilling since 1972, after both the provincial and federal governments imposed moratoriums. The Province is now reviewing these moratoriums and has commissioned a scientific review panel to examine whether offshore oil and gas resources can be extracted in a scientifically sound and environmentally responsible manner.

Several thousand kilometres of marine seismic surveys were recorded and 14 offshore wells were drilled prior to 1968 with no commercial success. Onshore, some exploration has occurred on Graham Island where 10 wells were drilled between 1913 and 1984, also without commercial success. In 1988 the Geological Survey of Canada recorded more than 1,000 km of marine seismic surveys. Resource assessment by the Geological Survey of Canada has estimated in-place oil and gas reserves at 1,560 million m3 (9.8 billion barrels) and 734 billion m3 (25.9 TCF) for the Queen Charlotte Basin in six conceptual play types. The Tofino Assessment Region combines both the Winona and Tofino Basins. Potential for both basins is estimated at 266 billion m3 (9.4 TCF) of gas in-place in a single defined play type.

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