Alberta Plays Catch-up on Frack Front

Alberta Plays Catch-up on Frack Front by Andrew Nikiforuk, February 23,  2012,
Regulator acknowledges water risks, says hydraulic fluids disclosure will be required. … Cal Hill, executive manager of the Regulatory Development Branch of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) said his agency is now actively investigating four (the ERCB later corrected that figure to five) well blow-outs caused by horizontal multi-stage hydraulic fracking…. The Alberta regulator did not announce an investigation until a January 2011 fracturing incident made global headlines. That remarkable event sent oil and fluid spurting out of an existing well 1.2 km away from the oil shale well being fractured near Innisfail, Alberta…. Methane is buoyant and looking for a way up to the surface, explained Hill “There is an expectation you are going to find some signal in groundwater,” he added. … “We are working for full fluid disclosure,” said Hill…. Moreover, Hill admitted that he knew of no toxic fluids “that are prohibited” in the province. … “Nothing specific” has been set aside for additional monitoring admitted Hill. Asked if the ERCB would implement recommendations proposed by noted researcher Karlis Muehlenbachs on hydraulic fracturing, Hill remained non-committal. … Muehlenbachs, a global expert on gas leaks from wellbores, recently recommended at a Washington, D.C. conference that regulators do rigorous gas and water testing prior to fracturing formations. [Emphasis added]

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