Coalbed Methane (CBM) not risk-free; Excellent map showing CBM potential in BC

Everywhere groundwater went bad after coalbed methane development, industry would change its name.

CBM = Coalbed Methane

NGC = Natural Gas from Coal

CSG = Coalseam Gas

Methane’s not risk-free, critics say by Scott Simpson, March 11, 2003, The Vancouver Sun

Refer also to:

Australian Petroleum Association: Coal seam damage to water inevitable by The Sydney Morning Herald, August 3, 2011.

The coal seam gas industry has conceded that extraction will inevitably contaminate aquifers. “Drilling will, to varying degrees, impact on adjoining aquifers,” said the spokesman, Ross Dunn. “The intent of saying that is to make it clear that we have never shied away from the fact that there will be impacts on aquifers,” Mr Dunn said.

BC Government announces ban on fracking in Sacred Headwaters, Mark Hume: Say no to fracking in the Sacred Headwaters

2011: Rachelle Van Zanten – My Country

Inspired by images of Tahltan women blockading coalbed methane mining by Shell and Fortune Minerals in defense of the Sacred Headwaters in northern British Columbia, Rachelle wrote ‘My Country’. She was invited to perform it for the Tahltan people at the Iskut Music Festival a year later, where we filmed this video.

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers: Coal bed methane operations contaminate water resources by The Calgary Herald, August 28, 2014

Yet CAPP’s Alex Ferguson says many worries about water quality are based on past operations involving coal-bed methane — shallow deposits in closer proximity to groundwater. These did occasionally contaminate water resources, he says. In some of the more infamous instances, affected landowners could light their well water on fire.

Alex Ferguson was appointed Commissioner and CEO of the BC Oil and Gas Commission from 2007-2011

Front Page Chinchilla News! Australia farmer speaks out about CSG (CBM/NGC) impact on water aquifers; Office Groundwater Impact Assessment estimates 574 water wells will be affected

French coalbed methane drilling presents risks even without fracking: joint study published by France’s national geological & environmental agencies

Research finds CBM (CSG) responsible for contaminating Condamine River with bubbling flammable methane, “methane emissions from below ground could increase significantly”

GAS LEAK! ABC Four Corners on Coal Seam Gas (Coalbed Methane) in Australia

Radon gas leaks in coalbed methane fields in Australia spark call for probe

WATCH Risky Business – Al Jazeera’s report on Coalseam Gas [Coalbed Methane] in Australia

Gas Wells Leak – Even Upside Down – in Australia 44% of gas wells leaking in the Tara Coalbed Methane field

Leakage testing of coalbed methane (coal seam gas) wells in Queensland Australia

Australia: AGL’s irrigation trial using CBM (CSG) waste water found to be ‘unsustainable’ or too toxic? It “left behind” (on what?) unacceptably high levels of salt and heavy metals

Victoria state gov’t to permanently ban unconventional gas development; Fracking and CBM/CSG to be banned: “The health and environmental risks…outweigh any potential benefit.” Citizens hail decision after inquiry into onshore unconventional gas received 1,600 submissions

Australia: New Intermim Select Committe Report on unconventional gas, including CBM (CSG): Australia must ban fracking across the country.

“Mr Bender’s death was ‘a snap decision’ after Origin Energy tried to force him to sell.” Family of George Bender Submission to Senate Inquiry into Regulation of CSG (CBM) Industry: 1,000 pigs dead due to gas industry pollution

Wyo Supreme Court awards rancher Brett Sorenson $1.1 million for CBM clean up. Justice Michael Davis: “We view Pennaco’s attempts to relieve itself of the obligations it bargained to perform more as a game of hot potato.”

CBM Cleanup Fraud? Wyoming Supreme Court rules Pennaco Energy responsible for CBM cleanup and back payments to two landowners, after selling wells to firm that went bankrupt

Frac ‘n Fraud Down Under: Origin Energy execs kept aquifer contamination secret for more than 1.5 years, knew CSG (CBM) wells leaking into aquifers. Are Origin Energy CSG (CBM) wells contaminating Condamine River with ‘intensifying’ methane bubbling too?

“Total Farce” Australia’s national assessment of chemicals used in CSG (CBM) 2.5 years delayed: Is industry afraid of sick families finding out what they’re being poisoned by?

Community stops Australia’s NSW Northern Rivers CBM/CSG exploration & extraction; Metgasco shareholders reluctantly accepted $25 million settlement from govt to buy back licence

“A terrible terrible day.” George Bender, CSG (CBM) impacted farmer, Darling Downs, Queensland, killed himself. “Not only does this community have to live with this scourge of CSG coal seam gas mining on a daily and nightly basis, now they have to deal with one of their most-respected and most-loved community members taking his life.”

CSIRO research on methane seeps in Surat Basin, Queensland; funded by partnership with coalseam gas (CSG), coalbed methane (CBM) companies – Sounds like Alberta’s Research Council (now Alberta Innovates) partnering with Encana on CBM and groundwater impacts research to blame nature

Methane contamination of Wallumbilla drinking water supply in Queensland may be linked to coal seam gas (CBM) wells; Council takes contaminated well offline to protect the community, but not Wheatland County for Rosebud Hamlet in Alberta

Northern Rivers Australia: 2000 protesters to block Metgasco tight sands gas drilling that uses risky frac’ing processes as used to extract CBM

Santos CBM in NSW Australia contaminates aquifer with uranium at 20 times the safe drinking water levels; Regulator does not test for thorium, radon and radium! Thorium and radon are known to cause lung cancer.

Australia: Local doctor talks of ‘catastrophic’ CSG (CBM) health impact

Moratorium on coal seam gas (CBM) extraction in Sydney’s drinking water zone

Queensland farmers warn Victorians about fracking CBM or coal seam gas

Dart Energy slashes costs amid CSG [CBM] changes

Fracking Coalbed Methane in Scotland: Dart ‘desperate’ to revive Airth plan

Past analyst holds grave fears for safety of Gloucester families from AGL fracking coal seams to make coalbed methane flow

Metgasco closes Northern Rivers CSG [CBM] wells, Farmers and The County Women’s Association protest CBM

Plan to mine CBM gas under homes in Sydney Australia

Australia: Inquiry calls for freeze on CSG [CBM] production

Encana sells Horseshoe Canyon CBM stake to Toyota Tsusho for $602 million

CSG [CBM] and the unresearched risk to Australia’s water

Alberta Environment Standard for Baseline Water Well Testing for CBM Operations, Science Review Panel Final Report

Government – way too late – taking steps to address water concerns, water issues dogs CBM producers

Ernst Testimony on water contamination and non-disclosure of chemicals used in shallow hydraulic fracturing of coalbed methane wells in Alberta

Alberta Environment/Energy Resources Conservation Board Response to the Report “Potential for Gas Migration Due to Coalbed Methane Development”

Sustainability [???] of Coalbed Methane (Within the Context of Environmental Challenges and Policy Development in Alberta)

Wet’suwet’en Chiefs Oppose Coalbed Methane

Clash over Coalbed Methane

Coalbed methane drilling a tough sell

Government hosting public information sessions on groundwater protection and coalbed methane

Coalbed Methane Natural Gas-in-Coal and Groundwater potential impacts presented by Alberta Environment in 2006

Water better be OK, Ralph Vows to Intervene on Coalbed Methane Complaints It was not then, and still is not now:

Alberta Government 2006 Legislature promise of permanent, safe alternate water to citizens with methane contaminated water in hydraulically fractured (aka stimulated) coalbed methane areas Govt broke their promise a mere two years later.

Fears about coalbed methane

CPAWS won’t wait for government to develop coalbed methane regulations

A History of CBM

Operating Canadas Biggest CBM Field

Part 1: CBM concerns ignited; Part 2: CBM checks, balances in place say government officials, EUB, oil and gas industry

2006 CAPP’s Best Management [Voluntary] Practices for NGC/CBM After Ernst went public with this daming report by CAPP, the lobby group removed it from public access

“Drilling fluids are transported, stored and handled in tanks. Typically, drilling fluid waste will be transported off-site for re-use and treatment/disposal…. Some additives may be caustic, toxic, or acidic.”

[Photos below of Encana’s waste disposed (dumped) on foodland at Rosebud]

Coalbed methane drilling could be cause of quake

Known risk of earthquakes caused by oil and gas development, BC Hydro worries about fracking unconventionals near dams, specifically coalbed methane and shale gas. “Alberta Offers Lessons In Keeping Oil and Gas Industry ‘Safe’ From A Public Endangered By Fracking”

British Columbia’s 2005 Lax Code for Discharging Coalbed Methane Pollution into Rocky Mountain Headwaters Co-Authored by Encana, Company Resumes 5 year old Elkford CBM Project as Weak Provincial ‘Code of Practice’ Comes into Effect Permitting Discharge of Contaminated Wastewater into Classified Trout Streams

Scientists granted research window for Flathead BC Coalbed Methane mining

Governing with Integrity and Transparency, Coalbed methane recommendations

2005: Tahltan Iskut elder Mabel Dennis being arrested on 15 September 2005 by an RCMP officer. Nine Tahltan and Iskut elders were arrested for blockading the road to Klabona, the Sacred Headwaters, in protest over coalbed methane mining by Fortune Minerals and Shell Canada. Photo: Tahltan Bulletin

EPA: Evaluation of Impacts to Underground Sources of Drinking Water by Hydraulic Fracturing of Coalbed Methane Reservoirs Chapter 3 Characteristics of CBM Production and Associated Hydraulic Fracturing Practices

2003 09: Natural gas from coal in Alberta Position Paper, CAPP doesn’t like the name coalbed methane or hydraulic fracturing referred to as an experiment Another report CAPP removed from public access

In order to more accurately reflect the fact that coalbed methane is simply a form of natural gas and will be developed in a similar manner, CAPP recommends that “coalbed methane” be referred to as “natural gas from coal.”


1. The EUB, DOE, CAPP and Industry should adopt the phrase “natural gas from coal” instead of “coalbed methane;” the Act and the regulations should be amended by replacing the phrase “coalbed methane” with the phrase “natural gas from coal” and a definition of that term should be added to the Act.

2. The Act should be amended to declare that NGC is natural gas and should explicitly state that it is retroactive.

EUB should be more critical in its assessment of whether a party will be directly or adversely affected in deciding whether the party should be given standing regarding a particular application

EUB should allow the technical details within applications for holdings to be kept confidential for a period of two years.

CAPP recognizes that the handling and disposal of produced water, whether by treatment and release to the watershed or subsurface disposal, must be carefully planned. … If usable water is encountered, restrictions on its production and use are imposed by current Alberta Environment regulations for conservation purposes. For example, usable water production from an aquifer is limited to one producing formation (or coal seam) at a time and is subject to pressure drawdown restrictions. These limitations make it impractical to attempt to depressure a target coal group to achieve commercial volumes of NGC production. CAPP recommends that under circumstances where usable water was intended to be produced for the purpose of depressuring coals to produce NGC, that a multi-ministry, “one–window” approach be developed for licensing and regulation through the EUB.

There are an increasing number of stakeholders that have been raising questions and concerns about the development of NGC. … There also seems to be a misconception held by some people that the designation of a project as “experimental” means that it poses a higher risk to the public. CAPP, along with other key government and community stakeholders (e.g. EUB, DOE, and the Alberta Departments of Sustainable Resource Development and Agriculture, Food and Rural Development) should develop a consolidated public education and consultation campaign to clarify the issues surrounding development of NGC. Such a campaign would have to engage community members and municipal governments that may be impacted by NGC development, as well as the media. The challenge will be to create an awareness of the fact that NGC simply involves the exploration and production of natural gas in a different reservoir situation, namely a gas reservoir in a coal seam, and requires different production techniques.


27. CAPP will develop and implement a consolidated public education and consultation campaign in coordination with the Canadian Society for Unconventional Gas (CSUG) and other key government and community stakeholders.

28. The government of Alberta should coordinate with the government of British Columbia regarding replacement of the phrase “experimental scheme”….

1993: Foul Water Leads to Court Methane Contamination from CBM

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