What’s this fracking ban about?

What’s this fracking ban about? by Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer, November 18, 2012, London Free Press
“It does catch the interest of people,” said Jolanta Kowalski, a spokesperson with Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources, “but there’s nothing going on in Ontario, at this point.” Hydraulic fracturing technology isn’t being used in the province and there are no proposals before the ministry by anyone wanting to begin using it, Kowalski said. “We don’t know, at this time, that Ontario hosts what are called economic reserves of shale gas.” Kowalski said the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is “doing a preliminary, science-based analysis of bedrock” to assess the presence of shale gas and look at the implications for ground water quality. “So far in Ontario, only one exploratory well has been drilled to test for natural gas in a shale bedrock formation.” That happened in 2006 in southwestern Ontario,” Kowalski said. “It encountered small qualities of natural gas and then was plugged . . . there was no fracturing.”

The Council of Canadians points to a recent report by the Ontario Geological Survey, an arm of northern development and mines, that indicates samples have been taken from several locations around southern Ontario, including in Chatham.  “We want more answers about why government is pursuing these drilling programs without an environmental assessment on fracking,” Barlow said in the press release. “Whether there’s potential for shale gas development, I really don’t know,” said Hugh Moran, executive director of the London-based Ontario Petroleum Institute. But, he added, that potential is being evaluated. “The industry, of course, would support and welcome any type of study the Ontario government would want to embark on to ensure that this is a safe practice for the industry to use.”

He said there are 3,300 producing oil and natural gas wells in Ontario and the province produced 224,000 cubic metres of natural gas in 2011. That’s “a very small amount” compared to the total volume of natural gas Ontario uses, Moran said. “There hasn’t been any real new exploration and development” in the province in recent times, he said, but added, “There is potential here in our natural reserves.” Half of it is estimated to still be sitting there untapped, he said. The industry would like to see some direction from the provincial government about domestic oil and gas production, Moran said. “Do we want to continue to import 95-plus per cent of what we use?” [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to: The Assessment Review Board Reduces Methane Contaminated Property’s Taxation Value to Zero

Ontario Fracking rules need review, environment group urges

Company buys 23,000 acres of land in Ontario for fracking operations

Radon threats are grounds for precaution

Alberta firm eyes Ontario’s untapped shale gas

Looking Ahead to 2010: Natural Gas Markets in Transition

Stop Fracking Ontario ]

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