Topic: Alberta

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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 been published in Science, one of the world’s leading peer‑reviewed academic journals.

The study has been described as revealing an “exquisitely detailed picture” of the timing and dynamics of seismic events in an area about 30 kilometers west of the town of Fox Creek, Alberta. … 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 their contractors as authority to source water for hydraulic fracturing and other oilfield operations. In Alberta, the province owns all of the water and a license from the AER is required by the oil and gas industry to divert and use the water.

The AER … 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 fracturing, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ESRD) in collaboration with Alberta Energy and the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) will:

  • expand the water conservation and allocation policy presently in place for oilfield injection to include water conservation measures for hydraulic fracturing, with
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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 particularly rich in light oil and petroleum liquids such as propane and butane.  Hydraulic fracturing has been key in developing the vast underground rock formation that covers an area the size of South Korea.

The Duvernay play is still in its early stages with only about … 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 investigating the alleged contamination of her water well.

The landowner, Jessica Ernst, originally sued EnCana, ESRD and the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) in 2007. Recently, the case against the ERCB was thrown out on the grounds that the ERCB did not owe her a … Continue Reading

Alberta Court confirms regulatory immunity

The Court of Appeal of Alberta has confirmed that the Energy Resources Conservation Board (now known as the Alberta Energy Regulator) is immune from a negligence lawsuit by a landowner claiming that hydraulic fracturing caused hazardous amounts of methane, ethane and chemicals to contaminate her water well.

The appellant, Jessica Ernst, owns land near Rosebud, Alberta. She sued EnCana Corporation for damage to her fresh water supply allegedly caused by EnCana’s activities, notably construction, drilling, hydraulic fracturing and related activities in the region. The Energy Resources Conservation Board had regulatory jurisdiction over the activities of EnCana, and the appellant has … Continue Reading

Court finds Alberta Regulator has statutory immunity from hydraulic fracturing suit

Alberta’s Court of Queen’s Bench has ruled that the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has statutory immunity to a claim by a landowner that it was negligent in protecting the landowner’s water supply from hydraulic fracturing. The ERCB, or the Alberta Energy Regulator as it is now known, is responsible for regulating Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

Jessica Ernst, an activist well known in Canada for opposing hydraulic fracturing, alleged that between 2001 and 2006 oil and gas company undertook shallow drilling to extract coal bed methane and, in doing so, used hydraulic fracturing, which included the use of toxic … Continue Reading

CAPP Releases Hydraulic Fracturing Operating Practice on Anomalous Induced Seismicity: Assessment, Monitoring, Mitigation and Response

In November 2012 the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) released it’s seventh Hydraulic Fracturing Operating Practice, entitled Anomalous Induced Seismicity: Assessment, Monitoring, Mitigation and Response.

The Operating Practice outlines the requirements for CAPP member companies to assess the potential for anomalous induced seismicity—also known as earthquakes—and where necessary, establish appropriate monitoring procedures and procedures to mitigate and respond to anomalous induced seismicity in shale gas and tight gas development areas.

CAPP is the industry association representing members which account for about ninety percent of Canada’s natural gas and crude oil production.

Under the Operating Practice, companies are required … Continue Reading

Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board Releases draft Hydraulic Fracturing Directive

On Thursday, December 6, 2012 Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) released for public comment a draft Hydraulic Fracturing Directive.

The ERCB is Alberta’s primary energy regulator and establishes the rules under which oil and gas development can take place.

The ERCB already has in place numerous directives that apply to hydraulic fracturing. However, given the increasing use of hydraulic fracturing technologies with horizontal drilling, the ERCB is proposing additional rules on subsurface activity during hydraulic fracturing operations.

The draft Hydraulic Fracturing Directive is proposing:

  • new requirements to prevent the loss of well integrity during hydraulic fracturing operations;
  • new
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