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Gas Deposits

Natural 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 5600 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 H2S 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.