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 things:

  • a Risk Assessment which identifies the threats and hazards from the proposed hydraulic fracturing operation to safety and the environment and the mitigative measures to manage those threats and hazards;
  • an Environmental Protection Plan prepared in accordance with the Environmental Protection Plan Guidelines and which demonstrates, among other things, that “green completion techniques” will be used to ensure that 90% of the flow back gas and oil vapour is recovered and that 95% of any gas or oil vapour not recovered is incinerated;
  • surface and ground water information;
  • a description of how suspected seismic events will be monitored and reported; and
  • a list of the chemicals in the hydraulic fracture fluid and their concentration.

An applicant also must indicate to the Ministry if they are willing to publically disclose certain information in their application, including the chemicals to be used. If they are not willing, they have to explain the reasons for that decision. At this point, it is unclear if the Ministry will agree that the chemical composition of fracturing fluids must not be publicly disclosed if it is confidential business information.