The Energy and Environment Research Initiative (EERI)

The UBC Energy and Environment Research Initiative (EERI) is a field focused research program directed by Professor Roger Beckie and Dr. Aaron Cahill at the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, UBC Vancouver. EERI is a collaborative research program involving leading earth science and environmental engineering researchers from across Canada. EERI’s core mission is to increase knowledge on fugitive gas leakage from energy resource development and in particular to advance understanding of sub-surface fugitive gas reactive transport through the critical zone (i.e. through shallow groundwater and into the atmosphere). Through its portfolio of research investigations, EERI aims to assess the environmental risks posed by fugitive gas, aid design and development of effective monitoring and detection methodologies, and help develop risk management strategies.

The cornerstone of EERI investigations is the operation of a multi-disciplinary field research station in the Peace Region of NE BC (Hudson’s Hope Field Research Station), at which various controlled natural gas release experiments are taking place. Through controlled gas release investigations direct field observations of fugitive gas migration, impact and fate can be made and various sensors and monitoring technologies tested. EERI is also leading investigations which will install a regional scale groundwater monitoring network across the Peace Region of NE BC, in order to increase understanding of regional hydrogeology and monitor groundwater quality against a backdrop of historic and ongoing energy resource development. Additionally, EERI is performing geospatial data investigations with respect to energy well construction and potential for gas migration in collaboration with the BC Oil and Gas Commission.

A key aim of EERI is to train exceptional graduate students in field techniques and theory related to energy resources and environmental impacts; with specific expertise on fugitive gas. Additionally, EERI undertakes extensive public engagement and seeks to build strong partnerships with local communities and First Nations in the Peace Region of NE BC.

Flare on natural gas processing infrastructure, Peace Region, BC.