Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sundre Petroleum Operators Group hosts community meeting on Hydraulic Fracturing

Text and photos by Helge Nome

The Sundre Petroleum Operators' Group represents an attempt by the oil and gas industry and local landowners to bridge the traditional gap between their interests. It covers an area in the western foothills of Alberta which includes the Town of Sundre where a lot of oil and gas extraction is carried out, including highly toxic sour gas. In recent times new extraction technology has included the use of hydraulic fracturing which can have negative impacts on surface and groundwater used by local residents. This has created new tensions between land owners and the industry.

In consequence, a public meeting was hosted by SPOG in the Eagle Hill Community Hall on Tuesday, April 3 under the guidance of SPOG Executive Director Tracey McCrimmon who introduced the speakers: Clive Mountford from NAL Resources, Christa Seaman from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Bob Willard from Alberta's Energy Resources Conservation Board.

The audience was, unfortunately, primarily composed of industry and government representatives with very few community people having showed up. This may have been due to a communications problem. Those residents that did show up were very unhappy about developments to date, in spite of assurances of low risk from the industry speaker during a panel question and answer session. A recent blow-out of "fracking" fluids from an old well adjacent to a new one where high pressure hydraulic fracturing was taking place brought home the inherent risks of the operation in areas of old wells intersecting the some 2000 meter deep formation from which oil and other fluids, along with gas, are being extracted.
For photos of speakers and more comments, go to Second Page

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