Water Source Wells

The Commission regulates access to groundwater for use in oil and gas operations through authorization of water source wells and the regulation of water injection and disposal wells. Water source wells are defined in the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act as:
“a hole in the ground drilled to obtain water for the purpose of injecting water into an underground formation in connection with the production of petroleum or natural gas”

Water accessed through water source wells, also known as service wells, is used in British Columbia to provide water for flooding of oil pools to enhance recovery, or to provide water for use as a hydraulic fracturing fluid method referred to as slick water fracture stimulation. These techniques can use produced water from oil and gas operations for injection, but if additional water is needed, water produced from water source wells can be used.

Produced water is the salty water trapped in the reservoir rock and that is produced along with oil or gas during production. These waters are mixed with oil, metals and minerals under high pressures and temperatures.

Water source wells, which are typically targeted towards non-potable aquifers, are drilled and operated under the requirements for wells as defined in the Oil and Gas Activities Act, and the Drilling and Production Regulation. If a well is used for continuous disposal or injection service, a separate application and approval with the Commission is needed prior to operation.