CONTACT EXPLORATION – STONEY CREEK & HILLSBOROUGH
Contact Exploration has approval to bring into production up to 31 old and new gas and oil wells (issued in March 2011) and to drill and frack four new wells (issued Jan 2013). We are awaiting word from the company when they expect to begin and will update this page as we receive more information. While most drilling to date has focused on oil production, the company has expressed optimism for excellent natural gas prospects and just partnered with a company constructing an LNG terminal in NS. This means they will soon have a market for Albert County gas. (Note: While fracking for oil is largely the same as fracking for gas, the process uses less water and chemical mix, and the drilling takes place in sandstone closer to the surface.)
We believe it is important for people to know what is and has happened in their community. The March approval was granted under a former regulatory regime. The January approval was granted before the government released their ‘new rules’. Information below has been gathered from the Contact Exploration website. meetings with their CEO and emails from Environment and Energy & Mines:
- 2006-07: Contact Exploration conducted seismic testing in the Hillsborough area, discovering enough data to convince them of a significant oil reserve existed beneath the village.
- 2006-09: The company brought into completion 5 conventional oil wells in Stoney Creek; unsuccessful horizontal drilling and fracking of two additional wells.
- 2010: The company drilled two new unconventional (horizontally drilled and fracked) wells in Stoney Creek with good results; indicated they plan for 12 additional horizontal wells in coming years.
- March 2011, Contact Resources received approval under the former regulatory processes from Energy Mines for “exploratory drilling, completing, testing, producing the related activities” associated with three recent oil wells, 17 former Stoney Creek oil wells, 11 former Stoney Creek gas wells. This permission allows them to frack, if necessary. Approval also includes construction and operation of a production facility for oil and natural gas from these wells. Approval states that “treated oil and produced water will be trucked from the site for further processing or stored on site”. Wastewater will be stored in containers on-site.
- Fall 2011, Contact drills two new wells – Salem (by Steevescote Rd) and Edgetts Landing (beyond Kings Quarry).
- Well (identified as B55 in Edgett’s Landing) is 1.9km from the Village of Hillsborough’s main water supply and 400m from its storage tanks. Contact estimates that this oil reservoir may have equal to or greater oil potential than the entire productivity of Stoney Creek. Hillsborough had to drill 35 wells in order to find these two good, reliable supplies of water for the village. If these wells are compromised in any way, the village could be without usable water.
- During the drilling of wells in late 2011, water was taken from the reserve well located by Caledonia High School, which is maintained in case of fire and has a very slow refill rate.
- January 2013 – new approval issued under ‘Phased EIA’ process gives Contact Exploration permission to drill four new wells in Stoney Creek (with a number of conditions specified).
- Once conditions attached to EIA approval are met, the company will be issued licenses to drill the four new oil wells.
PETROWORTH – ROSEVALE
Petroworth has four gas wells in the Rosevale Area (not far from Berryton) and two in Dawson (one shut-in). Their website is currently off line, so it is uncertain if the four are producing gas at this time. The company stock is only a few cents on the stock exchange. Petroworth Resources lost its Alberta-based farm-in partner for an exploratory well near Lake Ainslie in Cape Breton after the company was spooked by an anti-fracking protest that blockaded the Canso Causeway in September. The gathering was part of Global Frackdown – a worldwide day of action and solidarity, intended to ’send a message to elected officials that people want a future fueled by clean, renewable energy, not dirty, polluting fossil fuels.
Our government and the industry would have us believe that this can be done safely with the appropriate rules in place, but other independent geologists and professionals in the field tell us we have valid cause for concerns. So, do we believe those who have something to gain, or those who have nothing to gain?
We have been told that Canada has the most stringent regulations, but a spokesman for the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board has said, “There is no amount of regulation that can overcome human error.” And when Premier Alward was in the opposition he said: “You can have all the rules and regulations in the world, but if companies are not doing what they are supposed to do, they are not going to help anybody.”
As we all know, rules do not give guarantees and we have much to lose.