Quebec announces extensive studies to assess oil and gas potential, St. Lawrence Lowlands, Anticosti Island subjects of fracking probes

Quebec announces extensive studies to assess oil and gas potential, St. Lawrence Lowlands, Anticosti Island subjects of fracking probes by Kevin Dougherty, Gazette Quebec Bureau Chief, May 30, 2014, Montreal Gazette
Quebec’s Liberal government announced on Friday it will carry out extensive environmental studies, as a prelude to developing the province’s oil and gas potential. A general strategic environmental assessment will look into the possibility of developing oil and gas deposits in rock formations where they may be found, provided they are profitable, meet the test of social acceptance, are safe and respect the environment. “We will act with prudence, transparency and in an orderly manner, in the best interests of the Quebec population,” Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand said at a joint announcement with Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel,

The overall study will include the St. Lawrence Lowlands region, between Montreal and Quebec City, where about two million people live and where the province’s best farmland is found.

Citizen opposition to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract natural gas from deep shale formations in the Montreal-to-Quebec City region led to a halt in exploration and a first round of environmental studies, which are still underway.

“There is no social acceptance at this time,”
Arcand admitted.

Quebec officials told reporters fracking technology has advanced and safeguards can be taken to avoid the contamination of groundwater by fracking liquid, methane and national gas leaks. [What are “national gas leaks?”]

Heurtel said people living in the region will participate in the new studies.

A second strategic environmental assessment will deal with Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, populated by 230 people and 200,000 deer. … Junior exploration companies said they have found evidence of oil, worth “billions of dollars,” in the island’s substrata that could be extracted through fracking. The outgoing Parti Québécois government of Pauline Marois offered Petrolia Inc. and Corridor Resources Inc. $115 million for exploration work.

Arcand announced Friday that Quebec will pay $55 million this summer to drill about 15 stratigraphic wells on the island, examining the carats, or core samples, for signs of oil.

In summer 2015, Quebec will invest another $45 million for three exploration wells on Anticosti using the fracking technique….

Petrolia has proposed using propane, rather than water, in fracking on Anticosti.

“It is possible that we will not find oil,” Arcand said. “There is no guarantee.”

Heurtel added that even if oil is discovered on Anticosti Island, it might not be economical to develop.

Quebec officials told reporters in a background briefing the province needs more natural gas and the government is concerned it will lose a source of natural gas if TransCanada Inc. goes ahead with plans to convert a natural gas pipeline, passing through Quebec, to carry Western Canada crude oil to refineries in Quebec and New Brunswick. The province intends to intervene at National Energy Board hearings on the pipeline conversion and will keep a watch over the Enbridge Inc. plan to reverse its 9B pipeline, to bring Western crude to Quebec’s refineries.

Christian Simard, of the environmentalist group Nature Québec, said the strategic environmental assessment process, relying on experts, does not allow for the same citizen participation as Quebec’s Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement. “It’s not credible,” Simard said.

The Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique said it approves the global approach the government is taking, and its commitment to energy efficiency and electric transport. But the environmentalist association also sees the strategy as preparing Quebecers for more oil and gas developments and more greenhouse gas emissions. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

March 28, 2014: Methane contamination found in Gaspé water wells near Petrolia’s methane leaking oil well; Is the Quebec government deflecting the explosive risk to protect the oil and gas industry?

March 7, 2014: Unanimous Decision! Municipal Council of the City of Gaspé appeals the court decision not allowing regulation to protect drinking water from the harm caused by hydraulic fracturing

March 4, 2014: Government finds methane in drinking water wells in Gaspé, water wells are within 2 km of Pétrolia’s oil wells, one of them reported in 2012 to be leaking methane

March 1, 2014: CUPE calls for full drinking water protection in the Gaspésie Peninsula

February 16, 2014: Government of Quebec partnering with the oil and gas industry to hunt for oil on Anticosti Island puts taxpayers at risk, Marois strikes $115M deal

February 16, 2014: 71 Quebec municipalities defend their drinking water and municipal by laws from possible oil and gas industry lawsuits

February 14, 2014: Quebec oil and drinking water: Gaspé is getting impatient

January 13, 2014: Gaspé wants Quebec government to intervene; The Quebec Superior Court agrees with Petrolia, says Gaspé municipality can’t protect its drinking water supplies from the oil and gas industry

January 11, 2014: Gaspé, Quebec passes water law to stop oil drilling near its wells and homes

November 13, 2013: Unifor, Canada’s largest energy union, calls for Canada-wide moratorium on all new oil and gas fracking; the ignorant keep blindly pushing forward

August 21, 2013: Shopping Legal Bills, Justice grows unaffordable for many Canadians, Access to justice is profoundly unequal in Canada

March 23, 2013: Petrolia asks Qubec Superior Court to rule on Gaspé drilling ban put in place to protect groundwater, Do decisions of municipal councils outweigh drilling rights?

March 28, 2013: The man who did not know Quebec, L’homme qui ne connaissait pas le Québec

March 28, 2013: Gas in your maple syrup, Du gaz dans ton sirop

February 17, 2013: Emotions driving Quebec fracking moratorium and fear of English-Speaking Oilpatch workers, Bouchard says

February 17, 2013: CEO of Gastem says ecology activists are fascists and states that ‘nobody’ in Alberta complains about drilling wells

February 16, 2013: Canada’s environmental activists seen as ‘threat to national security’, Police and security agencies describe green groups’ protests and petitions as ‘forms of attack’, documents reveal

February 5, 2013: Hydraulic Fracturing: The new oil sheik of Quebec

January 14, 2013: RCMP and CSIS watching citizens concerned about hydraulic fracturing

November 23, 2012: Canadian taxpayers could be on hook for Quebec fracking decision because of NAFTA Chapter 11 that protects corporations even if they risk health, the public interest and environment to take profit

November 15, 2012: NAFTA challenge launched over Quebec fracking ban

September 21, 2012: Alberta companies critical of Quebec minister’s stance on fracking

September 20, 2012: Fracking banned by Quebec government

September 20, 2012: Quebec to seek ban on shale gas fracking: Minister

“I don’t see the day when these technologies can be used in a safe way,” said Ms. Ouellet, as she walked to her first cabinet meeting Thursday in Quebec City. [Emphasis added]

July 18, 2012: Fracking tour fails to sway Quebec farmers

April 3, 2012: Quebec should say no to all hydraulic fracturing: report

April 3, 2012: No fracking, even for research, recommends Quebec committee report

April 1, 2012: Despite regulations, gas wells leak, especially as they get older

December 24, 2011: Groundwater contaminated with shale gas found in Quebec

The Council of Canadian Academies and Environment Canada to study hydraulic fracturing after group of harmed Albertans demand mortatorium

Septemer 18, 2011: Leaking Energy wells in Quebec keep on leaking

July 1, 2011: Quebec ban leaves shale gas drillers staggering

March 7, 2011: Fracking will cause ‘irreversible harm’ Shale-gas extraction a huge risk

January 18, 2011: Inspectors found leaks at shale wells, government report says

LJanuary 5, 2011: Leaks found in shale gas wells: Que. Report, 31 were inspected ‘and more than half have problems,’ says envrionmental expert

November 1, 2009: A Primer for Understanding Canadian Shale Gas – Energy Briefing Note by the National Energy Board

The Utica Shale of Quebec has both shallow and deep sections and there is potential for both biogenic and thermogenic natural gas, respectively.

Biogenic gas can be found in the Utica in shallow areas, while thermogenic methane can be found in medium-deep and structured shales…. The reservoir has an advantage over others in that it is folded and faulted, which increases the potential for the presence of natural fractures…. Only a handful of wells have been drilled in the Utica, most of them vertical.

Finally, there are some environmental concerns with development of shale gas in Canada. Little is known about what the ultimate impact on freshwater resources will be. [Emphasis added]

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