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Researchers zero in on how fracking can cause earthquakes

A new academic study reveals two ways hydraulic fracturing by oil and gas operators can cause earthquakes in Alberta, Canada. Researchers at the University of Calgary’s Department of Geoscience have discovered that tremors induced by hydraulic fracturing can occur through pore pressure increases and by stress changes.  The study “Fault Activation by Hydraulic Fracturing” has … Continue reading

New Brunswick Extends Fracking Moratorium Indefinitely

The Canadian Province of New Brunswick’s Energy Minister has announced that the current moratorium on hydraulic fracturing will continue indefinitely. The moratorium was put in place in December 2014 until five conditions have been met. The five conditions to allow hydraulic fracturing are: a social licence is in place; clear and credible information is available … Continue reading

Newfoundland & Labrador Hydraulic Fracturing Review Panel Release Report

The Canadian Province of Newfoundland & Labrador mandated an independent panel to conduct a public review and advise the Minister of Natural Resources on the socio-economic and environmental implications of hydraulic fracturing in Western Newfoundland. The panel has now issued its report. In November 2013 the Province imposed a “pause” in processing approvals of hydraulic … Continue reading

Study shows fracking linked to earthquakes in western Canada

According to a study described in the March 2016 edition of the journal Seismological Research Letters, hydraulic fracturing is linked to most induced earthquakes in the Western Canadian sedimentary basin. The study looked at data for 12,289 wells which had been hydraulically fractured, 1,236 waste water disposal wells and magnitude 3 or larger seismic events … Continue reading

That’s a lot of Gas!

Up to 425 trillion cubic feet. That’s a lot of gas. A new joint study by Canada’s National Energy Board, British Columbia’s Oil and Gas Commission, the Northwest Territories’ Geological Survey and the Yukon Geological Survey estimates that shales in Canada’s Liard Basin could contain up to 425 tcf of marketable natural gas, which is … Continue reading

New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing Publishes Recommendations

The Canadian Province of New Brunswick presently sources the majority of natural gas it consumes from the Sable Offshore Energy Project, but its production is slowing. The Frederick Brook shale is thought by some to contain vast reserves but it has yet to be drilled because in December 2014 the Government of New Brunswick placed … Continue reading

Quakes in Oklahoma and Canada highlight changing legal parameters for operators

Edmond, Oklahoma experienced a 4.3 magnitude quake December 29 amid a swarm of quakes the state experienced that day.  Chimneys and contents of shelves purportedly tumbled to the ground, and 4,400 individuals lost electricity.  The Oklahoma Corporation Commission continues to develop a response to the complex phenomenon, noting January 1 that “the initial review of … Continue reading

Canadian think tank’s research shows concerns about hydraulic fracturing as excessive

Canada’s Fraser Institute has published a Research Bulletin following a review of recent research into the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing. In Managing the Risks of Hydraulic Fracturing: An Update, the argument is made that although there are indeed risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, they are for the most part readily manageable with available technologies … Continue reading

Alberta to consider water management pilot in the Duvernay

Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) is considering a pilot project in Alberta’s Duvernay shale basin in response to increased public concerns about cumulative effects, water conservation and groundwater protection associated with hydraulic fracturing. The Duvernay regulatory pilot project is expected to look at alternatives to fresh water sources of water, water transportation and storage, and … Continue reading

Canada water network identifies knowledge, gaps and opportunities for water and hydraulic fracturing

The Canadian Water Network (CWN) has released a paper on water and hydraulic fracturing that summarizes what is known about water and hydraulic fracturing in Canada, what is most needed to be known and what areas should be targeted for research. The CWN is a group of academics from major Canadian universities that connects water … Continue reading

Canadian industry seeks comments on IRP 24: fracture stimulation industry recommended practice

Enform Canada has released for public comment a draft Industry Recommended Practice on Hydraulic Fracturing known as IRP 24: Fracture Stimulation. Enform Canada is a not-for-profit entity formed by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Canadian Association of Oil Well Drilling Contractors, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, the … Continue reading

Alberta energy regulator restricts temporary diversion licenses due to drought

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has taken steps to restrict surface water withdrawals under previously-issued temporary diversion licenses (TDLs) due to hot, dry weather and low flow surface water conditions across Alberta. The restrictions are intended to protect aquatic ecosystems at risk due to drought. TDLs are commonly used by oil and gas operators and … Continue reading

B.C. Court requires frac sand mine to undergo environmental assessment

The British Columbia Supreme Court has ordered the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) to reconsider its previous decision to not require an environmental assessment of the proposed Komie North frac sand mine near Fort Nelson, B.C. In this case, Canadian Silica Industries (CSI) wanted to develop the Komie North Mine and potentially five other mines … Continue reading

Ernst & Young assesses British Columbia’s regulatory framework for hydraulic fracturing

The British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) hired Ernst & Young (E&Y) to assess B.C.’s regulatory framework governing hydraulic fracturing. The OGC asked E&Y to: assess the OGC’s current framework, including legislation, regulation, guidance, leading practices, policies, permit conditions and industry standards; develop a detailed map of the relationship between existing regulatory instruments and … Continue reading

Second edition of the Shale Gas Handbook released by Norton Rose Fulbright

On June 25, 2015, Norton Rose Fulbright released the second edition of the Shale Gas Handbook. Almost two years ago, Norton Rose Fulbright lawyers, realizing that the unconventional oil and gas phenomenon was having various results all around the world, came together to create the inaugural edition of the Shale Gas Handbook. The Shale Gas … Continue reading

Canada’s Northwest territories propose new hydraulic fracturing filing regulations for on shore wells

The Northwest Territories (NWT) in Canada’s north have released for public comment proposed Hydraulic Fracturing Filing Regulations under the NWT’s Oil and Gas Operations Act. If brought into force, the proposed Regulations will require an operator who wants to hydraulically fracture a well to submit to the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Investment, among other … Continue reading

Canada’s Yukon government paves the way for hydraulic fracturing

The Yukon government has accepted all 21 recommendations made by a Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly Regarding the Rights and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing. The Select Committee held public hearings and accepted submissions to help the Yukon Government develop a policy approach to hydraulic fracturing in the Yukon. The Select Committee’s recommendations largely addressed … Continue reading

New Brunswick announces commission to study hydraulic fracturing

The Canadian province of New Brunswick has appointed a three person Commission to study if the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing should be lifted. In December 2014 the provincial government introduced amendments to the Oil and Gas Act that placed a moratorium on all types of hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick following wide-spread public protests. The … Continue reading

Alberta Energy Regulator responds to earthquakes possibly linked to fracking

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has issued new rules which create a “traffic light” process in response to earthquakes believed to have been caused by hydraulic fracturing. Subsurface Order No. 2 comes after several seismic events that may be related to hydraulic fracturing were recorded in the Duvernay play near Fox Creek in northwestern Alberta. … Continue reading

Alberta taking steps to protect groundwater from hydraulic fracturing operations

The Government of Alberta has released a Water Conservation Action Plan which includes short and long-term strategic actions to protect groundwater from the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing operations. The Plan outlines 20 short-term and five long-term actions that are intended to help protect Alberta’s groundwater during oil and gas development. With respect to hydraulic … Continue reading

Alberta extends with “play-based” regulation experiment

The Alberta Energy Regulator (“AER”) has extended its pilot project for a “play-based” regulatory framework for unconventional oil and gas development in part of the Duvernay shale play in west-central Alberta.   The Duvernay shale play is a large, developing shale play covering much of western and northern Alberta and eastern British Columbia.  It is … Continue reading

Alberta Chief Justice keeps fracking lawsuit against environmental regulator alive

The Honourable Neil Wittman, Alberta’s Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench, has ruled that a landowner is entitled to carry on her lawsuit against Alberta’s Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Department (ESRD) for allegedly being negligent in monitoring and regulating EnCana Corporation (EnCana) in the hydraulic fracturing of a well, and negligent in … Continue reading
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