Sahtu water board pressured to fast-track fracking project, Some businesses urge board not to approve project without environmental assessment

Sahtu water board pressured to fast-track fracking project, Some businesses urge board not to approve project without environmental assessment by CBC News, May 8, 2013
Debate about environmental reviews heats up in the N.W.T. Some business people in Norman Wells, N.W.T., are urging the Sahtu Land and Water Board to fast-track a drilling project near the town. ConocoPhillips Canada wants to drill and frack two horizontal wells. If approved, it would be the first time the controversial method of exploration has been used in the Northwest Territories. Many residents of the town have written letters to the Sahtu Land and Water Board in favour of the project and asking that its exploration stage not be subject to an environmental assessment.

A year and a half ago, MGM Energy and Shell Canada proposed a similar project. When the land and water board ordered an environmental assessment, they withdrew their application.

Business people in the region are worried that could happen again. “We’d like to see continued future development,” said Chris Buist with the Norman Wells Chamber of Commerce. “Even though we want to do it safely and environmentally friendly, we definitely need this economic opportunity within our region.” … “Since we are in the initial exploration stage on our exploration licence, we’re uncertain at this point in time if there are flowable hydrocarbons on our block, so we believe in the exploration stage that an environmental assessment isn’t necessary,” said Eric Hanson, ConocoPhillips’s supervisor for the central Mackenzie Valley. ConocoPhillips is not saying how it would react to an environmental assessment. “That’s something we would have to evaluate at the time of the environmental assessment,” Hanson said. Darren Campbell, editor of Alberta Oil magazine, said ConocoPhillips shouldn’t be surprised if an environmental assessment is ordered on the first horizontal fracking project in the territory. [Emphasis added]

Shale gas find declared in NWT Pointed Mountain area  by Oil and Gas Journal editors, May 7, 2013
Canada’s National Energy Board granted a commercial discovery declaration to Lone Pine Resources Inc., Calgary, with respect to the Upper and Lower Besa River shale intervals in the Pointed Mountain field area of the Liard basin in western Northwest Territories. “It is reasonable that all of Lone Pine’s 66 sections are developable by the use of hydraulic fracturing,” NEB said, adding that “there are reasonable grounds to believe that the commercial discovery extends at least throughout the applied-for frontier lands.” Lone Pine has a 100% operated working interest in 52,202 acres at Pointed Mountain. Lone Pine, which applied to the NEB for the CDD in February 2012, now has contacted Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development Canada for the standard 21-year lease extension in accordance with Sec. 62 of the Canada Oil & Gas Lease Regulations. In the last half of 2011, Lone Pine reentered and recompleted the L-68 vertical wellbore to test two overpressured uphole shale formations. The L-68 well provided sweet gas flow rate data that support the potential deliverability of 12 MMcfd of gas from a multifractured horizontal completion, Lone Pine figures.

Lone Pine believes this analytical forecast is strongly supported by analogous data from nearby operators in the Liard basin as well as the adjacent Horn River basin. In particular, an Apache Corp.-operated well in Northeast British Columbia 60 miles south of the L-68 well had a 30-day gas flow rate of 21.3 MMcfd from the Lower Besa River. Independently, Apache said it has identified 48 tcf of dry sales gas from 210 tcf of net gas in place on its acreage (OGJ Online, Aug. 20, 2012). Lone Pine said existing infrastructure in the area includes roads and pipeline access to the Spectra Fort Nelson gathering system via the Pointed Mountain/Beaver River sour gas pipeline that crosses Lone Pine’s acreage. The NEB’s CDD also acknowledges that the shale gas intervals “appear to be thicker over the Lone Pine lease area than the equivalent shales in Horn River basin” and further that “the thicker intervals combined with good reservoir parameters contribute to large original gas-in-place resource estimates.” Lone Pine said the CDD is the first of its kind for an unconventional resource play that has been granted by the NEB.

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