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Home > Alberta's Resource Inventory > Hydrocarbons > Natural Gas > Major Gas Deposits

Resource Inventory

Major Gas Deposits

Gas Drilling Rig near Red Earth CreekNatural gas deposits underlie a large portion of Alberta—roughly 40 percent of the total province. Areas with major gas producing fields and more intensive activity are located near Drayton Valley, Fox Creek, Medicine Hat-Suffield, Turner Valley-Jumping Pound, Waterton and Caroline.

As of 1996, Alberta's known natural gas reserves were estimated to be 1378 billion cubic metres. However, Alberta's total natural gas reserves may be as high as 5,600 billion cubic metres.

There are two basic types of natural gas in Alberta—sweet and sour gas. The term "sour" is applied to gas containing a high concentration of hydrogen sulphide. Natural gas containing little or no hydrogen sulphide is termed "sweet." Sour gas is typically found in deep, hot, high-pressure natural gas deposits, such as those in the foothills and eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. About one-third of Alberta's gas production contains hydrogen sulphide, and the province accounts for nearly 90 percent of Canada's total sour gas production. The majority of the sulphur content is removed in processing. It is then stockpiled as elemental sulphur, which is sold principally for producing fertilizers.

Department of the Environment. State of the Environment Report, Terrestrial Ecosystems. Edmonton: n.p., 2001. With permission from Alberta Environment.

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