Panel has inflated gas volume estimates, retired geologist says, Report on fracking ‘complete rubbish’ by mary Ellen MacIntyre and Selena Ross, June 4, 2014, Chronicle Herald
A retired geologist who once mapped Nova Scotia for the provincial government questions the conclusions of a panel on the potential for shale gas in the ground. “It’s complete rubbish,” said Duncan Keppie during an interview Wednesday. Keppie said that with particular reference to the Windsor-Kennetcook basin, where Triangle Petroleum Corp. has drilled three test wells, he believes the discussion paper by the hydraulic fracturing review experts panel highly inflates the numbers.
The report, released last month, was written by panelists Brad Hayes, a petroleum exploration consultant, and Ray Ritcey, the former head of Heritage Gas Ltd. They estimated that gas in shale at the Windsor-Kennetcook basin stands between 17 trillion and 69 trillion cubic feet over the area held by Triangle Petroleum. However, the paper does indicate the test wells failed to produce any gas. “While Triangle’s results do not support the existence of productive capacity … they do not conclusively condemn the reservoir,” the panelists wrote.
Keppie said that according to his estimates, the gas in shale at that location would be closer to 0.15 trillion cubic feet.
Panel chairman David Wheeler, president of Cape Breton University, said Wednesday that the panelists’ work was based on the best up-to-date information available from the government and academic research. They also considered submissions from the public, including Keppie’s independent analysis of the basin. “We did have access to (Keppie’s) opinion during the process of producing the resources paper, and his opinions were noted,” said Wheeler. “Our lead author on the resources paper (Hayes) is a national expert on petroleum geology who is generally recognized as an authority on petroleum geology, and Dr. Hayes spent significant time with the latest information from the Department of Energy and the Department of Natural Resources.
“We’re very happy with the quality of the analysis and the conclusions that were reached by our expert lead author.”
Keppie said it was disconcerting to read the report, and he believes it calls the panel’s credibility into question. He said he compared the Windsor-Kennetcook basin to a part of California that has similar geology and where estimates of fracking potential were recently lowered significantly.
“That’s the way junior exploration companies attract investors, by over-inflating the numbers,” Keppie said.
“It’s like a Ponzi scheme; you get people to invest their money based on inflated expectations.
“If this is the quality of the Wheeler panel’s analysis of the Windsor-Kennetcook basin and is an example of the reviews of the other basins in Nova Scotia, the credibility of the Wheeler panel is highly suspect, and the size of the shale gas resource is likely grossly over-estimated.” [Emphasis added]
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