Unconventional Shallow Biogenic Gas Systems

Unconventional Shallow Biogenic Gas Systems by George W. Shurr and Jennie L. Ridgley, 2002, The American Association of Petroleum Geologists, AAPG Bulletin November 2002 v. 86 no. 11 p. 1939-1969
Unconventional shallow biogenic gas falls into two distinct systems that have different attributes. Early-generation systems have blanketlike geometries, and gas generation begins soon after deposition of reservoir and source rocks. Late-generation systems have ringlike geometries, and long time intervals separate deposition of reservoir and source rocks from gas generation. For both types of systems, the gas is dominantly methane and is associated with source rocks that are not thermally mature.

Early-generation biogenic gas systems are typified by production from low-permeability Cretaceous rocks in the northern Great Plains of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Montana. The main area of production is on the southeastern margin of the Alberta basin and the northwestern margin of the Williston basin.

Both types of biogenic gas systems have a similar resource development history. Initially, little technology is used, and gas is consumed locally; eventually, sweet spots are exploited, widespread unconventional reservoirs are developed, and transport of gas is interstate or international. However, drilling and completion techniques are very different between the two types of systems. Early-generation systems have water-sensitive reservoir rocks, and consequently water is avoided or minimized in drilling and completion. In contrast, water is an important constituent of late-generation systems; gas production is closely tied to dewatering the system during production. Existing production and resource estimates generally range from 10 to 100 tcf for both types of biogenic gas systems. Although both system types are examples of relatively continuous accumulations, the geologic frameworks constrain most-economic production to large geologic structures on the margins of basins. Shallow biogenic gas systems hold important resources to meet the increased domestic and international demands for natural gas. [Emphasis added]

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