Only one company authorized to frack wells in federal territory so far
CALGARY — The National Energy Board is jumping on the FracFocus.ca bandwagon and will soon be asking companies who drill under its jurisdiction to post online their hydraulic fracturing plans.
The national agency won’t push its agenda until after the end of the year, said spokeswoman Tara O’Donovan, because the site must be made available in French as well as English.
But tracking down participants to ask them to sign a voluntary waiver of their two-year information withholding privileges shouldn’t be difficult, she added.
“We’ve actually only currently authorized one hydraulic fracturing operation in the North and that was recently, to ConocoPhillips,” she said.
The American producer won approval Oct. 30 to employ “fracking” — where large volumes of water, sand and chemicals are injected under pressure deep underground to break up tight rock and allow oil and gas to flow — at its Canol oil shale discovery near Norman Wells in the Northwest Territories.
More applications could be forthcoming, however, as other companies with assets in the region include Husky Energy, Shell, ExxonMobil, Imperial Oil and MGM Energy Corp.
The FracFocus.org website originated in the United States in 2011. A Canadian version was adopted by British Columbia in early 2012 and then, at the end of 2012, by Alberta provincial regulators. Alberta had previously required disclosure but not public disclosure.
The site offers well-by-well information on hydraulic fracturing practices and fluids producers use in their operations, posted within 30 days after the operation has been completed.
The NEB said it has signed an agreement with the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission and the U.S.-based Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission to participate in the site.
“We understand that Canadians demand that hydraulic fracturing be done safely, responsibly and transparently,” NEB chair and CEO Gaetan Caron said in a statement.
In Alberta, companies are required to report the start and finish dates of fracking operations, fluid system components, the purpose of the components, additive ingredients and the maximum concentrations of each ingredient in the system.
Alberta Energy Regulator spokesman Bob Curran said a total of 2,555 fracking operations in Alberta had been registered on the website as of Sept. 25.