High hopes for Red Deer County “tight” oil wells

High hopes for Red Deer County “tight” oil wells by Drew A. Penner, September 25, 2012, Mountainview Gazette
Drilling Superintendent Scot Brodie, at EOG Resources, stressed the Cygnet venture is still in its early phases. “It is an interesting project,” he said. The Duvernay shale has been tapped as the “sexiest” resource frontier in Canada by some observers, and oil industry players have been watching closely. … Companies that stand to benefit if the EOG wells prove profitable are Bonavista Energy, Celtic, Athabasca Oil Corp., Trilogy, Delphi Energy, Guide Exploration and Longview Oil Corp., among others, say officials. Red Deer County Councillor David Hoar said EOG is using new technology at this location that reduces the cost of exploration. “I did tour it,” said Hoar. “As I understand it they’re drilling eight wells off one site.” The opinion of county residents will vary based on individual impact, he said. “It depends who you are,” he said. “The acreages west of there will potentially be living in hell for awhile.”

“I think they don’t tell us everything that’s going on,”…. Environmentalists watching shale oil plays heating up around the province say the risks involved in the necessary fracturing operation are like playing with fire. But there is little they can do at this point but advocate for safer extraction methods, says Don Bester, of the Alberta Surface Rights Group. “We know it’s coming,” said Bester. “It’s not going to be a boom. It’s going to create a big frack mess throughout Alberta.” EOG plans to use water from wells, surface water bodies and wastewater from treatment facilities for the Cygnet fracks and is evaluating a number of private and public sources. The average well service operation uses 100,000 cubic metres of fresh water per frack, he said, and he worries that the chemical cocktail used to stimulate the miniature fissures below ground could eventually make it up to the water table. “The contaminants in these fracks are deadly,” he said. “These are not things we want to play around with.”

While the Energy Resources Conservation Board stresses no wells have ever tested positive for contamination due to fracturing activities in Alberta, Bester says because of the confidentiality surrounding the mixture we don’t even know what we should be testing for. … Out of about 170,000 wells that have been hydraulically fractured in Alberta’s history the vast majority have occurred without incident, said ERCB spokesperson Bob Curran, adding regulations, adding requirements and field stations are part of overseeing the industry. [Emphasis added]

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