Another AER agent not to trust: Industry rep at AGS, Rebecca Salvage, quickly blamed nature for 5.6M biggest (industry induced) earthquake in Alberta’s history; includes snide “comments” and big winded promises by Obsidian, quake-maker

Regulator defends finding that Alberta’s largest earthquake was caused by oilpatch by Bob Webber, The Canadian Press, Mar 30, 2023, Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON — Alberta’s energy regulator has defended its finding that the province’s largest recorded earthquake was caused by oilpatch activity, saying the pattern of temblors since last fall clearly points to a water disposal well even though there’s no suggestion rules were flouted.

“The connection between the earthquake sequence and the disposal well injecting into the deeper Leduc Formation was clear,” says a timeline of the research conducted by the Alberta Geological Survey, a branch of the Alberta Energy Regulator.

The release of the timeline comes three days after Obsidian Energy, a Calgary-based oil and gas producer, openly challenged the regulator’s attribution of a 5.6 magnitude quake last November to operations of the company’s deep disposal well near the town of Peace River.

“Since we have not seen any data or other evidence for the (regulator’s) conclusions, we cannot — and do not — agree with these conclusions,” said Obsidian president Stephen Loukas in a release.

“We have requested data from the (regulator) and intend to engage independent third-party experts to help us better understand (its) reasoning.”

But the timeline, obtained by The Canadian Press, shows the regulator’s conclusion was based on months of study, analysis from outside experts and the evidence of multiple seismic shocks and aftershocks.

On Nov. 29, 2022, a magnitude 5.6 earthquake about 40 kilometres southeast of Peace River knocked people to their knees and rattled both windows and nerves.

Oilpatch techniques like disposal wells that inject wastewater kilometres underground can induce earthquakes. One area disposal well has pushed more than a million cubic metres of water underground.

It was too deep to be from energy activity, they said. Nor did it line up with company data on the timing of water disposal.

“However, further work was needed to characterize the event,” the timeline says.

Scientists placed sensors around the earthquake site to capture data from aftershocks and outline underground strata. That data was given to a third party for analysis.

Still, the frequency and size of aftershocks near the main shock continued to decay, consistent with a natural earthquake.

Then another earthquake with magnitude of 3.2 happened on March 9 at a shallower depth. On March 16, a magnitude 5 earthquake took place near where the November temblor shook.

“The recurrence of large, felt seismicity, more typical of induced seismicity led the (survey) to more strongly suspect the events associated with this cluster were induced,” says the timeline.

An environmental protection order was issued to Obsidian on March 23. The company must submit plans to reduce the frequency and magnitude of the events and increase monitoring.

The regulator’s conclusions were backed up by an independent study by seismologists at Stanford University, the University of Alberta and Natural Resources Canada. The regulator did not see that study before releasing its finding.

Obsidian did not comment on the regulator’s timeline. But in its March 27 release, it maintains it has followed the rules.So what? AER’s industry pathetic deregulating self regulator. Rules in Alberta are about as protective as camel piss under the current extreme drought conditions in Alberta. Ya, you got that right, no camels here, except in zoos.

“The company’s water disposal well is both approved and licensed by the (regulator),”Means nothing but full quake steam ahead it said.

“Obsidian Energy ensures that all of our operations are in compliance with regulatory requirements and operates the water disposal well at pressures far below licensed rates.“bla bla bla BLA…BLA…blaObsidian Energy’s well has operated safely for more than a decade, as have, to the best of the company’s knowledge, similar water disposal wells operated by other oil producers in the vicinity.”

Ryan Schultz, one of the seismologists behind the university study, has said the induced seismicity could have implications for Alberta’s plans for large-scale injection of carbon dioxide into similar wells to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.CCS does not reduce emissions, it’s an industry scam to keep polluting and raping profits, and inceases emissions

“If carbon capture is going to be done at a scale that is going to combat climate change, then significant amounts of volume need to be put in the ground,” he said after his study’s release. “You might expect then also getting these types of earthquakes the more volume that you store.”

Schultz said the events around Obsidian’s well should cause governments to require much more extensive seismic monitoring around carbon capture and storage.Govt’s and regulators need to criminalize frac’ing – and that includes CCS



The CEO’s and VP’s get lots of print and scrutiny in these stories but the comment Mr. Langer got from the career dweeb at AER, “You’re a trouble maker”, points to an often overlooked aspect of the petro-industry corruption and malfeasance.

Nobody gets a job at AER or AB Forestry, Parks and Tourism (which includes Public Lands) or AB Environment and Protected Areas (which also includes Public Lands, go figure!) unless they can demonstrate immediate and on-going enthusiastic support for Albaturda’s petro-industry. You’re just not going to get in the door.Same requirements if one is a litigant trying to get in the door to try to access Canada’s inaccessible legal-judicial industry: unfaltering adoration of law-violating big oil polluters and their charter violating enablers like AER; wholesome worshipping of lying judges no matter how dirty and our misogynistic racist anti-rule of law courts, and settle and gagging to keep your back-stabbing law-violating lying lawyers happy and serving dirty judges to further fatten their egos and careers.

Blind and abject obeisance to anything, not least a mature, wealthy and fanatically corrupt industry like petroleum extraction and production, is an insurmountable barrier to knowledge and thoughtful analysis. And, of course, competence fails because that is the fundamental requirement for competent performance of duties.

Competence may be on the list of qualifications to work at these agencies but it’s a long, long way down the page. At the top are Obedience and Loyalty; these are the 2 primary characteristics that every employee gets measured on. It’s been this way since Kline fired a great number of skilled and competent professionals in the mid-1990’s. And it remains this way today.

This is what regulatory capture looks like in action. Everyone works for the industry. Nobody really knows anything except their given scripts. And that Industry. NEVER. Is. To. Blame.

Ralph Haygood:

“Let’s say we get a 5.5 magnitude quake and there are deaths and damages and the Peace River Bridge is underwater”: When that or similar happens (eventually, inevitably), the guilty parties will furiously assert that they had nothing to do with it and that anyone claiming the contrary is just another “trouble maker” – you can see this coming from years away.Just like in 2005, AER judging me (in writing) to be a criminal because I sent them documented evidence of Encana breaking the law, over and over, which seven years later, AER’s outside lawyer Glenn Solomon magically – poof – changed to me being a terrorist in an official 2012 court filing (which the court later ruled there was “absolutely” no evidence for) and finally, five years later still, in 2017, also magically – poof – flying lying out of Supreme Court of Canada Justice Rosalie Abella’s dirty fact-twisting frac-enabling ass, into me being a vexatious litigant (two years before I became a litigant).

And speaking of years, the whole thing will then be tied up in courts for years; lawyers will feast and feast and feast on it.And, also magically fart fabricate facts, lie, stab their clients in the back, all to keep the frac’ers frac’ing, and serve self, ego, and the ugly earth and life raping status frac’ing quo, like my lawyers Murray Klippenstein and Cory Wanless did to me – 11 years after I retained Klippensteins. I haven’t received an apology from any of the piss on the rule of law filthy fuckers and know I never will. Most of my life long savings – gone, and I still live with life-threatening, skin corroding, frac-contaminated water, and Encana – cowardly run away to USA as Ovintiv – is still frac’ing Canadians to Hell.

All because society allows rich people devoid of conscience to do obviously reckless things.


Former Royal Bank of Canada vice president Gordon Ritchie sits on the board of Obsidian Energy, the Calgary-based company the Alberta Energy Regulator says is the owner of a deep wastewater disposal well that has triggered 11 earthquakes in November 2022 and March 2023, in in the Peace River region…. The Tyee

Oil & Gas on bank boards, banks executives on the board of Oil & Gas, no conflict here, it appears they believe this and blatantly lie about their destruction to our faces. People need to boycott RBC for all the damaged they support. Profits before the environment and the people. No shame at all from this bank while they greenwash their way into peoples hearts.

You know it, I know it — most of us already know it: the world must immediately transition away from fossil fuels to have a shot at a liveable future. And yet, fossil fuel infrastructure continues to expand, bankrolled by major financial institutions.

The worst offender in Canada is RBC, who spent US$10.8 billion on fossil fuel expansion in 2022 alone. That’s 45% more funding than the year before. This eye-popping amount of money is what allows destructive projects like Coastal GasLink and the TransMountain pipelines to be built, in violation of Indigenous rights…. Lead Now

Cut this pipelines umbilical cord, the RBC should be held to account.

Same dirty diddling between CSIS and big oil and banks!?

Raymond Protti is non other than bro to Gerry Protti (ex Encana and Cenovus VP made Chair of AER when the Alberta gov’t deregulated it with REDA after my lawsuit was went public)


“Currently, much seismic information in the oil patch is considered proprietary and may not be made public for a year after a quake.”

Well, there’s a problem … shake, shatter, and rattle the Earth, but the causes are proprietary? Like the composition of fracking waste-water? We’re subsidizing the development of CCS under these terms? We need a better lawyer.

This industry is now planning to develop their ‘expertise’ into nuclear waste disposal:… This should rattle anyone and everyone.

Frac with nuclear waste? After many millions of fracs and oil and gas wells pin cushioned the earth into a leaking cess pool? Our corrupt leaders and their lawyers will make us pay for industry’s vile nuke waste scheme, and let frac’ers frac with nuke waste under our homes and in our communities and put liability for the endless things that are assured to go badly wrong, on us too. The only way these cumulative plans feeding greed and insanity, is for humans to quit making babies.

2018: Reverse Fracking: The Ultimate in Frac Greed, Idiocy & Irresponsibility? Richard & Elizabeth Muller’s “Deep Isolation” seeks funding to frac communities with nuclear waste

Storing nuclear waste well into the future is one of America’s most vexing energy problems. But the father-daughter team of Richard and Elizabeth Muller have an answer: reverse fracking. Their startup, Deep Isolation, would use hydraulic fracturing to bury radioactive waste in horizontal tunnels through shale a mile underground.

Now they have to convince communities to allow deep dumps in their backyards, persuade investors to cough up an initial $10 million and get the government to permit the technique.

Meanwhile, 2,000 more tons of hot U.S. waste pile up each year.

ingamarie to somesweetday:

I’m sending this article to Jagmeet and Trudeau.

If everyone who saw the sham started inundating politicians with the truth, perhaps they’d be less timid in agreeing to industry none sense.

I’m at a loss to understand how any intelligent human being could think Carbon Capture was a good idea……after half an hour of research into the technology.Industry and its enablers know it’s a dreadful idea, they promote and do it, and lie about it, to get more billions in subsidies and to keep raping out billions in profits via “low royalties” and near zero clean up (which has always been the plan; polluter pay is just more synergy shit to keep Canadians politely and nicely bending over for more bloody violent rapes by oil, gas and frac, enabled by AER, lawyers and judges and Synergized NGOs).

But our governments are going to subsidize this boondoggle????


pwlg to ingamarie:

Indeed, even the largest direct air capture of carbon dioxide in Iceland called “Mammoth” removes only ten one thousands of a percent of the CO2 emitted each year. The plant sells carbon credits at a price of $1,048 per tonne! The price is based on recovery costs for capital and O&M (operation and maintenance).

Our feds think they can achieve carbon capture at a cost of $180 a tonne. We’re being hoodwinked and just like the TMX $30 billion+ boondoggle, we’ll be fed lies about what carbon capture will achieve.

The UN says we need to reduce CO2 emissions by 10 billion tonnes a year to achieve the 1.5C target. The cost to capture carbon and store it at $1,000 a tonne or even the fantasy price of $180 a tonne puts the cost of CO2 capture and storage at trillions of dollars a year. So what’s the cost of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels by the equivalent of 10 billion tonnes a year of CO2 emissions?

Loss of jobs? Contractors across this country are crying for qualified tradespeople to build projects that provide benefits for us all like hospitals and affordable homes.Oil and gas companies and our foul politicians are lying when they pimp jobs in the patch on us as reasons to keep poisoning us, our homes and loved ones, and environment. Oil and gas companies are infinitely greedy, and thus, are automating much of their operations so as to get rid of as many workers as possible and make much more profit without wage and safety demanding workers.

Alberta’s Oil Patch Regulator Changes Tune on Earthquakes, After saying Peace River temblors were natural, AER blames Obsidian Energy, raising big questions by Andrew Nikiforuk, March 27, 2023,

When one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded in Alberta rocked the Peace River region at the end of November, the province’s regulator waved away concerns it might have been industry-triggered.

Now, after a Stanford University study confirmed those fears, the Alberta Energy Regulator has named Obsidian Energy Ltd. responsible and ordered it to change its practices.

The magnitude of the tremblor, which knocked people off their feet and one of a string caused by Obsidian Energy, raises big questions.

Some are about the actual risks associated with injecting wastewater underground employed by many other fossil fuel extractors.

But the risk implications go wider, to the vaunted but unproven carbon capture and storage method of collecting carbon emissions from oil sands projects and then storing them beneath the earth indefinitely.

Obsidian Energy didn’t mention any seismic problems in its February corporate presentations despite being under investigation by the provincial regulator since Dec. 22. 

Last Thursday the Alberta Energy Regulator belatedly revealed the mid-sized Calgary based company is the owner of a deep wastewater disposal well that has triggered 11 felt earthquakes in November 2022 and March 2023 in the bitumen oil fields of Peace River country.

Heavy oil production in Peace River area generates high volumes of briny wastewater that is re-injected 2,000 metres into the ground.

Researchers have known since the 1970s that such fluid injection can cause severe earthquakes. Recent research has concluded that even shallow injection can cause quakes and that some injecting wells can cause tremors up to 20 km away. 

Studies by earthquake experts in Kansas discovered that the cumulative pressure from multiple injection wells by multiple operators over time can change the pressure exerted on basement rock in the ground and cause seismic activity up to 90 km away. 

The Alberta Energy Regulator revealed in a March 23 order to Obsidian that it had been monitoring activity at the Obsidian well since December but neither the regulator or the company told the public about its investigation.When you’ve got nature to blame (without any evidence), why bother being diligent; or honest; or giving a shit about the lives, well being and homes/businesses of others; or giving a shit about the environment, subsurface, drinking water, groundwater? Magic! Poof! Just like AER judging Mr. Langer a trouble maker, and me a criminal, 7 years later switch criminal to terrorist with cherry on top J Abella switching both to “vexatious litigant.”

Nor did Obsidian mention the record quake possibly being connected to its operations in a Feb. 23 presentation

Obsidian directors include former RBC VP

On its website Obsidian boasts that it produces close to 7,000 barrels of oil a day from its Peace River cold well heavy oil operation with “low royalty rates.” Former vice chairman of Royal Bank of Canada, Gordon Ritchie, sits on the company’s board of directors. 

The November and March quakes shook homes in Peace River and were felt as far away as Edmonton. The largest recorded quake, 5.6 magnitude, could have caused extensive property damage had it occurred in an urban area say seismic experts. 

Even so it rattled homes, knocked pictures off walls, cracked foundation throughout the municipal district of Peace River. 

When Carmen Langer, a local rancher and former oil and gas worker phoned the AER to report the record 5.6 magnitude quake last November, he said a representative denied oil and gas activity had anything to do them.

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Former Royal Bank of Canada vice president Gordon Ritchie sits on the board of Obsidian Energy, the Calgary-based company the Alberta Energy Regulator says is the owner of a deep wastewater disposal well that has triggered 11 earthquakes in November 2022 and March 2023, in in the Peace River region. Such operations are likely tied to November’s largest ever recorded earthquake in Alberta, according to a new Stanford University study. Photo via LinkedIn.

Langer argued that industry had extracted too much bitumen and injected too much wastewater to be an innocent player.  

“You’re a trouble maker,” Langer said he was told by the AER representative, who said of the most recent and other earthquakes in the region, “I can assure you they are all natural.” Langer had historical and science scientific support for his accusation. The Western Canadian sedimentary basin has a long record of industry-triggered tremors caused by rapid gas extraction, water flooding, deep well injection and hydraulic fracturing. 

The regulator claimed that the felt seismic events were too deep to be triggered by industry. However data including detailed wavelength modelling from Earthquakes Canada strongly suggested otherwise.

Shortly after the 5.6 quake, Canadian seismic hazard expert Gail Atkinson, who has extensively studied tremors caused by industry, told the Tyee that industry fluid injection mostly likely triggered the cluster, and she was proven right. 

When the regulator didn’t answer questions about what bitumen injection wells or disposal wells were under investigation, The Tyee approached geological engineer Grant Ferguson at the University of Saskatchewan. 

Ferguson confirmed that there were scores of bitumen injection wells and deep disposal wells in the area affected by the quakes. The Tyee approached two companies capable of making seismic events, Baytex Energy Corp. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., but neither answered our queries

The AER didn’t change its tune about the quakes until a Stanford study last week identified a deep disposal well at a bitumen operation 40 km of south of Peace River as the most likely cause. 

The study found that the disposal well owned by Obsidian Energy (formerly Penn West) had injected under great pressure one million litres of wastewater 1.9 km deep into the ground, just 2.3 km from the epicenter of the quakes. The injection started to create small seismic swarms about five years ago leading to the record quake last November and, in early March, more quakes greater than magnitude 4.

The study also identified two other unreported clusters of earthquakes caused by deep disposal wells north and east of the town of Peace River in 2014 and 2019. These seismic swarms had not identified by the regulator due to inadequate seismic monitoring.  

The lead researcher of the Stanford study, Ryan Schultz, told the Tyee that he was not sure how the felt tremors at Obsidian’s disposal well “will affect other disposal wells.” There are scores of them in the region. “Most of the Canadian cases of induced seismicity have been more isolated, in comparison to the American cases that seem to have long-range communication” with other injection wells, he said.

He added that “More seismic monitoring would be helpful to better identify cases like this in the future.”

A challenge to carbon capture plans?

The study also raised serious concerns about public subsidized plans to store vast volumes of carbon dioxide underground in Alberta and B.C. The high cost and high energy process of carbon capture and storage requires liquefying carbon and then injecting it deep into the ground similar to salt water disposal. The researchers warned that C02 injection could trigger quakes as serious as the one that broke Alberta’s records.

“Ideally, operations would be sited in locations that are remote from critical infrastructure, residential homes, and industrial operations — to balance the earthquake consequences with the costs/risks of waste transportation,” warned the study.  

Other research has warned that storing CO2 underground is inherently reckless: “Because even small to moderate-sized earthquakes threaten the seal integrity of CO[2] repositories, in this context, large-scale CCS is a risky, and likely unsuccessful, strategy for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” 

On March 23 the AER ordered the company to produce in the next 15 days “a plan to reduce the magnitude and frequency of induced seismic events caused by the Disposal Operation,” as well as install more seismic monitoring equipment. The company must also supply the regulator with data on water injection rate, and cumulative water injected data from the well over the last decade. 

Allan Chapman, a former senior geologist with the BC Energy Regulator (formerly the Oil and Gas Commission) has repeatedly warned authorities that there are no upper limits on the magnitude of tremors industry can cause and that regulators remain in a state of denial about the growing hazards. 

In a recent science paper Chapman called for frack-free zones, a more stringent traffic light system and legislation that requires companies to make their own seismic monitoring public as a condition of operation.

Currently, much seismic information in the oil patch is considered proprietary and may not be made public for a year after a quake.

He’s also advocating for an enhanced earth monitoring system that collects more real-time data with a much larger network of seismographs than currently exists. 

“Let’s say we get a 5.5 magnitude quake and there are deaths and damages and the Peace River Bridge is underwater,” said Chapman in a 2021 Tyee interview. “And four companies are found to be fracking in the same area at the same time. Having clear and transparent information on these events will help with accountability.”

Such a system would have immediately alerted regulators of the seismic issues in Peace River.

Fracking caused the biggest earthquake in Alberta’s history, seismologist says, A seismologist says with “89 to 97 percent” confidence that a record-setting quake was man-made by Matthew Rozsa, Salon

Last November the Canadian province of Alberta experienced the largest earthquake in its recorded history. Shortly thereafter a geologist from the University of Calgary claimed that the series of seismic events — which registered a 5.6 on the Richter scale as it rattled homes down to their bones and knocked residents to their knees — told a local publication that the earthquake was “probably natural. Natural events typically occur at those depths.” Pfffft. “Typically” is one of the oil and gas industry’s and its enablers at AGS, NRC, AER, favourite escape hatch words.

Now, a seismologist from Stanford University has reached a different conclusion — namely, that the earthquake was caused by wastewater disposal produced by nearby fracking, a controversial drilling method for natural gas and oil that involves injecting liquid at high pressure deep beneath the Earth.

“This event was caused by wastewater disposal,” seismologist Ryan Schultz told The Canadian Press on Thursday. The publication reports that there is a deep disposal well near the earthquake site. At that location, businessmen use oil patch techniques including injecting wastewater miles under the ground for fracking, and these methods can indeed induce earthquakes. This particular site has already had more than one million cubic meters of wastewater injected beneath the Earth’s surface.

“The clusters of earthquakes were right on top of a deep disposal well,” Schultz told the publication, referring to a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that he co-authored with scientists at the University of Alberta as well as Natural Resources Canada. The new study argues that the injected water, which wound up being forced into a deep fault under the Earth’s surface, reduced enough of the friction holding the two sides together that slippage eventually occurred, shaking the surface.

“We had a confidence somewhere between 89 and 97 per cent just in the timing,” Schultz explained. “There is enough information to start making these kinds of links.”

Co-author William Ellsworth, a research professor of geophysics and co-director of the Stanford Center for Induced and Triggered Seismicity, said in a statement that “the Peace River earthquake caught our interest because it occurred in an unusual place. Multiple lines of compelling evidence point to this quake as being man-made.”

Perhaps the most compelling evidence is that which can be seen by the naked eye. According to a public statement regarding the study, satellite observations picked up “a dramatic 3.4-centimeter uplift in the ground at the time of the November quake,” one was produced as the “high volume of disposed wastewater had increased water pressure on the fault, weakened it, and made it prone to slip.”

Schultz even offered an ominous prediction: 

“Earthquakes of similar magnitude to the Peace River event could be damaging, even deadly, if they happened in more populated areas. It is important that we understand the mechanics involved and how to avoid inducing more of these events.”

The revelation has implications for climate change. One popular proposal for mitigating the effects of carbon pollution is to capture carbon dioxide waste and pump it deep underground. The theory is that, in so doing, industries can continue to engage in practices that produce this type of waste without harming the environment. Yet if carbon capture and storage triggers the same seismic dynamics as the wastewater from fracking, there could indeed be harm through that method.

“If carbon capture is going to be done at a scale that is going to combat climate change, then significant amounts of volume need to be put in the ground,” Schultz explained. “You might expect then also getting these types of earthquakes the more volume that you store.”

In November Rebecca Salvage of the University of Calgary working with the Alberta Geological Survey argued that the earthquake began at least six kilometers underground and was therefore likely too deep to have been artificially caused.

“The depth infers that it’s probably natural. Natural events typically occur at those depths,” Salvage said at the time.

Salvage served industry well, giving them everything they need to dispute AER’s order against them.

Obsidian Energy disputes Alberta regulator conclusion it caused earthquakes through oil sands operations by Sasatimes News, March 27, 2023

Obsidian Energy vehemently repudiates the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) determination that the firm’s oil sands operations caused a series of tremors in the region.

In a vehement refutation of the AER’s findings, Obsidian Energy proclaimed that its practices are exemplary There’s a new one! Roaring laughter. What fools. Now I for sure will never believe anything that company saysand that the earthquakes could not have been a result of its activities.Prove it.

Obsidian Energy blasted the AER’s conclusion, terming it “irresponsible” and “unfounded”. The company proclaimed that it has operated with the utmost diligence ooooo la la! and that the seismic events could not possibly have been caused by its operations.

The company further flayed the AER, claiming that its conclusion was baseless and made without sufficient evidence. Obsidian Energy declared that the regulator’s determination was a gross injusticeNope, having your drinking water supply illegally frac’d by Encana/Onvitiv, then fraudulently covered-up and your Charter rights violated when seeking “regulation,” and supreme court of canada intentionally publishing lies to denigrate you, and your lawyers back stabbing and betraying you is injustice. The order against Obsidian is the cost of doing business. You frac around in Mother Earth, you find out. and that it is an affront to its integrity and good name.

Obsidian Energy branded the AER’s decision as unwarranted and wrongheaded, contending that its operations have been in full compliance with all applicable regulations.That means nothing. Frac quakes and damaging waste injection quakes happen regularly even when companies perfectly heed the regulations and even can keep increasing after regulators order companies to reduce volumes and injection pressures and companies heed them. The company vehemently asserted that it has met and exceeded the highest standards of environmental stewardship.Same crap Encana spewed at my frac’d community while denying it would ever frac a community’s drinking water aquifers, same crap all companies spew. It’s a contradictory spew. Any company engaging in fossil fuel extraction, waste injection or spreading, or frac’ing, steam injection of any kind shows shit for stewardship and has the lowest standards possible. The only way to not harm communities, ground and surface water, and wildlife where companies frac, and to prevent frac quakes and waste injection quakes is to NOT frac, and to NOT inject waste.

Obsidian Energy decried the AER’s verdict as unjustified and unsubstantiated, maintaining that it has done nothing No waste injection? that could have caused the quakes in question. The firm emphatically denied any culpability in the seismic events and pledged to fight the regulator’s conclusion in court.

Emma Graney @EmmaLGraney:

Obsidian Energy disputes the Alberta Energy Regulator’s conclusion that it caused earthquakes through oil sands operations

… Obsidian also intends to engage independent 3rd-party experts We are all too familiar with industry’s experts. They’ll lie, bully and or smear the harmed and rake in heaps of money to do assess the AER’s data. Loukas says “this additional evaluation and further monitoring are required before a proper conclusion can be reached regarding the cause of the seismic events”

Obsidian Energy Comments on Alberta Energy Regulator Order Regarding Water Disposal Well Press Release, March 27, 2023

Calgary, Alberta–(Newsfile Corp. – March 27, 2023) – OBSIDIAN ENERGY LTD. (TSX: OBE) (NYSE American: OBE) (“Obsidian Energy“, the “Company“, “we“, “us” or “our“) confirms that the Alberta Energy Regulator (“AER“) issued an order (the “Order“) regarding the Company’s 14-18-082-17W5 water disposal well (the “Water Disposal Well“), located approximately 40 kilometres Southeast of the Town of Peace River.

Obsidian Energy Comments on AER Order

Obsidian Energy is cooperating with the AER and intends to comply with the Order, including establishing seismic monitoring at the Water Disposal Well. The Order confirmed that the AER was not aware of any adverse effects because AER are chicken shits related to the seismic events near the Town of Peace River between November 29, 2022, and March 16, 2023. The Company has requested the data and analysis that the AER relied on when making its decision to issue the Order. The Alberta Geological Survey’s analysis of the seismic events on November 29, 2022 attributed the seismic activity to natural causes and stated there was not a clear correlation between the seismic events and Obsidian Energy’s disposal operations.

“Obsidian Energy has a strong Snicker snicker. In my view, companies that have such a history don’t boast about it, and certainly don’t exaggerate. history of responsible operations and takes seriously our commitment to safeguarding the environment,” Same old useless escape hatch words. Committing to do something is not the same as doing it. In my experience, when companies boast of their committing to doing something, they usually don’t do it. Stating one takes something seriously means nothing, especially in the raping world of the oil and gas industry. If Obsidian really took this seriously, they would stop spewing useless words and act. They would heed the order, and do everything possible to stop the quakes, including stopping their waste injection and honestly and respectfully immediately consult with harmed communities including First Nations. said Stephen Loukas, Obsidian Energy’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We meet or exceed regulatory requirements to reduce the potential impact on our local communities, our people, and the areas in which we operate. WOW! The fuckers can’t even admit the truth in this propagandizing press release! Everything done by and relating to oil and gas extraction and use, including masses of horrifically polluting noisy, road damaging truck traffic, intentionally polluting drinking water with frac’ing and or steam injection – permanently removing vital water from the hydrogeological cycle, and or waste injection causes endless real impacts – to the subsurface, energy well bores, health, safety, communities, families, homes, public infrastructure like roads and highways and bridges, air, water, land, soil, farms, wildlife, fish, birds, right to quiet enjoyment of private property, night sky, worker health etc.However, since we have not seen any data or other evidence for the AER’s conclusions, we cannot – and do not – agree with these conclusions. We have requested data from the AER and intend to engage independent third-party experts to help us better understand the AER’s reasoning. We believe that this additional evaluation and further monitoring are required before a proper conclusion can be reached regarding the cause of the seismic events.”

The disposal of produced water into subsurface reservoirs is a standard industry practice necessary for the responsible production of hydrocarbons, and the Company’s Water Disposal Well is both approved and licensed by the AER. Obsidian Energy ensures that all of our operations are in compliance with regulatory requirements and operates the Water Disposal Well at pressures far below licensed rates.Means nothing. Alberta is a lamely regulated oil and gas industry frac’ing free-for-all wastescape that is mostly deregulated while promising the opposite to the public. The Water Disposal Well does not involve hydraulic fracturing or high-pressure pumping activities. Does not matter. Low pressure injection can cause damaging quakes and subsurface leaks and groundwater contamination. Besides, any company that writes a shit-assed piece of propaganda like this for a press release is not trustworthy in my view. I don’t believe the company.Obsidian Energy’s Water Disposal Well has operated safely for more than a decade, as have, to the best of the Company’s knowledge, similar water disposal wells operated by other oil producers in the vicinity.In Alberta and BC, the oil and gas industry operating “safely” often means putting communities, families, workers, environment at constant risk of serious harm and near constant exposure to toxic pollution, and they, their masses of lawyers, and their self regulators fucking know it.

At this time, we anticipate no impact on the Company’s production due to the Order.I anticipate the same because in Caveman Canada, companies do what they like, and rape & pillage and ignoring harms to communities and the environment is the oil and gas industry’s rule of law, enabled by our courts. And when things start looking like there might be some pathetic way too late responsible regulatory action, filing for legal escape via court enabled bankruptcies is industry’s lovely free and easy escape.

Determining the Depth of an Earthquake by by William Spence, Stuart A. Sipkin, and George L. Choy, Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Volume 21, Number 1, 1989 Earthquake Hazards Program, USGS

Earthquakes can occur anywhere between the Earth’s surface and about 700 kilometers below the surface. For scientific purposes, this earthquake depth range of 0 – 700 km is divided into three zones: shallow, intermediate, and deep.

Shallow earthquakes are between 0 and 70 km deep; intermediate earthquakes, 70 – 300 km deep; and deep earthquakes, 300 – 700 km deep.

In general, the term “deep-focus earthquakes” is applied to earthquakes deeper than 70 km. All earthquakes deeper than 70 km are localized within great slabs of lithosphere that are sinking into the Earth’s mantle. …

Nuclear Waste Borehole Demonstration Center started, Collaborators are lined up, but the center is homeless at the moment by Howard Lee, March 27, 2023, arstechnica

A diagram of what a waste borehole might look like, with various additional objects included for scale.
Enlarge/ An artist’s impression of a deep borehole for nuclear waste disposal by Sandia National Laboratories in 2012. Red lines show the depth of mined repositories: Onkalo is the Finnish one, and WIPP is the US DOE repository for defense waste in New Mexico.Sandia National Laboratories

Deep Isolation, a company founded in 2016 and headquartered in California, launched a “Deep Borehole Demonstration Center” on February 27. It aims to show that disposal of nuclear waste in deep boreholes is a safe and practical alternative to the mined tunnels that make up most of today’s designs for nuclear waste repositories.

But while the launch named initial board members and published a high-level plan, the startup doesn’t yet have a permanent location, nor does it have the funds secured to complete its planned drilling and testing program.

I expect because they want our gov’ts to steal from the commons to pay for these nuke waste experiments.

Although the idea to use deep boreholes for nuclear waste disposal isn’t new, nobody has yet demonstrated it works. The Deep Borehole Demonstration Center aims to be an end-to-end demonstration at full scale, testing everything: safe handling of waste canisters at the surface, disposal, possible retrieval, and eventual permanentYa, right, with waste disposal, bitumen steam and frac injection, industry-induced quakes turning earth into toxic swiss cheese. Nothing will be permanently sealed undergroundsealing deep underground.

It will also rehearse techniques for ensuring that eventual underground leaks will not contaminate the surface environment, even many millennia after disposal.The arrogance of these nuke waste frac fuckers is beyond Satan’s lair.

But it will do all that without any actual nuclear waste: “This site, to be clear, will never be used for radioactive waste disposal,” said Liz Muller, CEO of Deep Isolation and chair of the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center’s board.

“What this is intended to do is to really bring people together to understand what are the principal issues that need to be resolved before we go forward,” said Ted Garrish, the launch executive director of the center. “There’s nothing really new here in terms of the actual technologies; it’s just marrying them together and doing it in a nuclear environment.”Marriage in hell.

Universal canister

By the time of this announcement, the center’s first exercise at “marrying” standard oil drilling and nuclear technology had already started. In February, there was a technology demo at a borehole equipment testing site near Cameron in Texas. “We have to have an attachment mechanism for this nuclear-designed canister to attach to standard oil and gas rigging,” explained Muller.

They used a newly designed canister big enough to enclose a 14-foot-long spent fuel assembly from a Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR). They latched onto it using standard oilfield equipment, lowered it through the floor of the drill rig, and unlatched it there. They later latched back onto it and fished it out again.

With funding by the US Department of Energy’s ARPA-E program, Deep Isolation is designing a new universal canister that can fit into a borehole and take waste generated by different reactor designs, not just PWRs: “We are talking to a number of different advanced reactor companies, what is their waste form going to look like, can we design it in such a way that it will fit into this universal canister?” said Muller, who thinks they should all fit into a canister the same size as their PWR spent fuel canister used in February’s test.

Decentralized disposal

A universal canister should make deep boreholes suitable for a variety of nuclear wastes, while the depth of boreholes should make them suit a variety of locations.

At the depths that mined nuclear waste repositories are constructed—around 400 meters deep—there’s typically quite a lot of flowing groundwater that can bring contaminants to the surface. Mined repositories for nuclear waste must therefore find uncommon locations, ones where the rock is tight and the water static, ensuring that leaks at the repository won’t move far, even after millennia. But by going much deeper, Muller argues, the waste can be placed at depths where groundwater flow is typically minimal, so there’s much less restriction on suitable locations. “The geology is much more flexible than it is when you’re looking at a mined repository,” said Muller. “When you’re going much deeper, when you’re going a kilometer, two kilometers deep, there are many more locations that are suitable.”

That means there could potentially be deep borehole disposal facilities at most of the places where nuclear waste is generated, reducing the need to ship nuclear waste to a centralized facility, such as the failed Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. “We expect the first iterations of Deep Isolation technology to be at existing waste facilities,” Muller said.

“I think if we’ve learned anything from the attempts to… have consolidated locations and to move [nuclear waste] across states, I think the big lesson, the big, big take home lesson is: don’t do it!” said Muller. Transportation of nuclear waste is still, to this day, cited as one of the objections by the state of Nevada to the Yucca Mountain disposal site.

Undecided details

Key aspects of the center are yet to be decided, including its location.

It’s not clear if the center will be based at the oil industry equipment testing and training borehole in Texas where they carried out their February demonstration or if it will be elsewhere: “Whether we proceed at this location, or we go to another location will depend completely on what our sponsors and the board decides,” said Garrish. Presumably it will also depend on what arrangements they can make with the current operators of the Texas site.

Other details, like the depth, profile, and even the number of boreholes, are also still to be decided. “We have a whole facility that we can use. We can do more than one hole based on what the participating governments want to see,” said Muller, speaking of their future plans.

Not only does the center lack a location, it currently lacks money to do all the testing it’s planning. Drilling is notoriously expensive, with rates in the region of $50,000 per day for a land-based rig, even without the attending services and nuclear waste disposal research. It’s clear that the center will need to work on obtaining the funds needed to deliver on its promises. “The amount of money that it takes in order to do this kind of research largely is government-related, so I think we will be looking to governments that are interested in developing these technologies in their countries, and they will in some way contribute for the research that they are most interested in,” said Garrish.

“The idea is to have a public-private partnership.”Here comes the rape of the commons. We, the public will pay for it all, and be burdened with all the harms and liabilities, the private part of the partnership will diddle a bit, then, transfer most of the fund into rich pockets

Europe presses ahead…

The majority of those countries are in Europe: “Our orientation initially is going to be to look at the countries that have expressed an interest in this, and our research has shown that… is mainly in Europe,” Garrish told Ars.

That’s because the switch from fossil fuels has increased European focus on nuclear power, while new “EU taxonomy for sustainable activities” rules require new reactors to have a nuclear waste solution by 2050. This deadline is concentrating European minds, and Garrish believes deep boreholes can be done more quickly and cost-effectively than mined repository projects, which have taken decades in some countries.

Last year a group of European countries, including Slovenia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Croatia, Belgium, and Norwayidiots, concluded that “deep borehole disposal is feasible with existing technology and may be a suitable and cost-competitive alternative… ” to mined repositories, adding: “The natural next step in the development of deep borehole disposal is a full-scale demonstration.”

Garrish told Ars that same group of countries is interested in joining the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center, and a representative from the Czech Republic is already on the center’s board.

… as US law is stuck in 1987

Borehole nuclear waste disposal in the US faces bigger challenges. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as amended in 1987, still mandates Yucca Mountain as the national waste repository for spent fuel and other non-military wastes, despite the project being  abandoned in 2010. “We cannot apply for a license, because we are not at the Yucca Mountain facility,” said Muller. “I don’t think we’re going to have the ability to address that head-on until we have a success under our belt.”

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told Ars last year (for our feature on the topic) that their regulations were not written with deep boreholes in mind. The 2012 “Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future” recommended the EPA and NRC update those regulations to cover deep boreholes, so Garrish hopes the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center will provide the impetus for those revisions: “My feeling is that EPA and NRC will be very interested,” he said.

Despite the legal and regulatory hurdles in the USA, a representative from the Atlanta-based energy company Southern Company is also on the board of directors of the Deep Borehole Demonstration Center.

Two growing problems to solve

Garrish sees nuclear power as essential in responding to the growing problem of climate change: “In order to move forward with the climate issue, nuclear is going to have to play a greater part,” he said. The Biden administration in the US and governments elsewhere agree.

Despite ongoing debate about the need and cost-effectiveness for nuclear power to provide electricity when weather curtails renewables like wind and solar, as old reactors have their lives extended and new ones come online, the already-large inventory of nuclear waste needing disposal will inevitably grow, too.

Howard Lee is a freelance science writer focusing on geology and climate change in deep time. He holds a BS in geology and MS in remote sensing, both from the University of London, UK. He was employed in the UK nuclear waste disposal program prior to 1998.

How Humans Are Causing Deadly Earthquakes, Mining, dam building, and fracking are among the causes by Sarah Gibbens, Oct 2, 2017, National Geographic

How Humans Are Causing Deadly Earthquakes

Earthquakes are often thought of as largely unpredictable, wholly natural forces of nature—but that may be changing.

A study published in the journal Seismological Research Letters this week identified 730 sites where human activity caused earthquakes over the past 150 years. And while we’ve long known that people can influence seismic activity, researchers were surprised to find that human activity has induced earthquakes with magnitudes as high as 7.9—and that the number of earthquakes is clearly rising in some regions of the world.

Just like earthquakes caused by nature, human-induced earthquakes have the potential to be dangerous, even deadly. And geologists are only just beginning to understand the repercussions these quakes could have on people and the environment.

Here’s what we know:

What kind of human activity causes earthquakes?

The effects of human-induced earthquakes may be similar to those created by nature, but are often seen in regions with little or no previous seismic activity. Most natural earthquakes happen along fault lines, which are commonly (but not exclusively) found where tectonic plates converge. But earthquakes triggered by human activity can occur far from the edges of tectonic plates.

Exactly what causes each induced earthquake depends on the type of human activity.

According to the report’s data, found on a publicly accessible database, mining accounted for the highest number of human-induced earthquakes worldwide (many earthquakes clustered around 271 sites). The removal of material from the earth can cause instability, leading to sudden collapses that trigger earthquakes.

Multiple earthquakes at 167 sites—and by far the deadliest ones—were triggered by what the report calls water reservoir impoundment, or dam building. (See the power of dams and dam removal.)

In 2008, an estimated 80,000 people died or went missing following a 7.9 earthquake in China’s Sichuan province. Scientists believe it was triggered by the weight of 320 million tons of water that had been collected in the Zipingpu Reservoir—over a well-known fault line.

In the U.S., the conversation around human-induced earthquakes has largely centered around fracking for oil and natural gas, given the rapid spread of the technology in many states. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, fracking can induce seismic activity, both directly and from disposing of wastewater used in the process—the byproduct of water, sand, and chemicals used to hydraulically fracture hydrocarbons from rock. That high-pressure wastewater can crack rocks and lubricate faults.

In the study, the authors found 29 project sites where earthquakes were induced by fracking itself, 36 sites where quakes were induced by post-fracking wastewater disposal, and 12 sites with temblors induced by unspecific oil and gas wastewater disposal. (Learn more about fracking.) In the case of Oklahoma, which has experienced heavy fracking activity, hundreds of small earthquakes have been observed annually in a region that was previously more geologically quiet.

Earthquake triggers were also identified from nuclear explosions in 22 locations and two construction sites.

“All anthropogenic projects influence forces acting in the Earth’s crust,” said Miles Wilson, a University of Durham geophysicist who collected the study’s data. “For example, by adding or removing mass, so we shouldn’t be surprised that the Earth responds to these changes and that in some cases earthquakes are the response.”

Why are they growing?

Wilson’s compiled records of human-induced earthquakes date back a century and a half. The website allows visitors to search quakes by date or region or drill down into data like magnitude, location, and cause.

Users can also submit additional cases they believe should be added to the database.

The database includes 108 sites that have experienced human-induced earthquakes over the past decade, ranging in magnitude from relatively small events to as strong as 5.8. The majority of those quakes were in the U.S. and Canada and were caused by disposal of fracking waste into the ground.

“In the long term,” Wilson said, “we may start to see more cases of induced seismicity across the world as we increase the number and scale of anthropogenic projects that influence the Earth.”

Mining, too, is expected to increase in scale. Today’s mines are bigger than ever and reach miles underground. All this activity could lead to more instability in the Earth, and more or larger earthquakes, Wilson warns.

Sometimes, “anthropogenic activity is the final straw that releases built-up stress,” said the geophysicist.

What can we expect?

Wilson’s work at the University of Durham was in part commissioned by a Dutch oil and gas company called Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij BV, which was interested in the potential impacts of its work. By better understanding earthquakes, engineers could work to minimize them, Wilson suggests.

It’s unlikely people will stop digging into the Earth, or injecting wastewater, any time soon. But Wilson says we may be better prepared to avoid the worst disasters, like China’s 2008 earthquake.

Refer also to:

2018: Reverse Fracking: The Ultimate in Frac Greed, Idiocy & Irresponsibility? Richard & Elizabeth Muller’s “Deep Isolation” seeks funding to frac communities with nuclear waste

Gong Show! Oil and gas industry self-regulator, AER, after blaming nature, “regulates” Obsidian Energy *only* because researchers make their study public on the 2022 damaging, record-breaking 5.6M industry-induced earthquake at Peace River, and media, including Tyee, reported on it. Corrupt AER cowards led by just another scandal-ridden old white “dickhead.” Obsidian shares fell 4% by morning.

New Standford study confirms Tyee investigation: Tarsands high pressure injections near Peace River most likely caused 2022 5.6M earthquake (largest in Alberta so far) and others, felt as far away as Edmonton; More quakes (4.6 to 5) in 2023, also felt in Edmonton. AER, industry’s self regulator, as usual, blames nature.

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