Thursday, May 16, 2019

Induced Earthquakes Presentation

In the wake of two local earthquakes that occurred in early March in the foothills west of Red Deer, the Sundre Petroleum Operators Group (SPOG) hosted an information session at the Crammond Hall near Caroline on May 8.

Todd Shipman from the Alberta Energy Regulator

Main presenter to a packed hall was Todd Shipman, Senior Advisor on Induced Seismicity and Geohazards  with the Alberta Energy Regulator (
The meeting was facilitated by Tracey McCrimmond, Executive Director of SPOG (

After an initial introduction to the subject of seismicity, Shipman emphasized the fact that "all earthquakes happen on faults", be they induced by human activity or naturally occurring.

In order to regulate fracking operations in the oil and gas industry a seismic "traffic light system" has been established by the AER where the red light signal to industry comes on when a 4.0 or larger magnitude earthquake possibly induced by fracking occurs. Operations must cease immediately.

Between a 2.0 and 4.0 measurement by local seismic instruments, the AER must be informed and the company response plan must be invoked. Below 2.0 no action is required. That was the case until the Sylvan Lake Earthquake, west of Red Deer occurred at 5:55 am MST on March 4 this year.

In light of that event, the AER issued recommendations on March 15 to reduce the red light number to 3.0 and the yellow light number to 1.0 because of ground movements felt by people over a wide area.

Another quake occurred a few days later in the Rocky Mountain House area, adding to local concerns, but Shipman suggested that it may have had natural causes.

A question and answer session followed the main presentation with many concerns being raised by those present.

To listen to the whole recorded presentation, including questions and answers, go to my SoundCloud account here:

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Repsol Hosts Open House

Representatives of Repsol Oil and Gas Canada hosted a community open house at the Arbutus Hall on April 30. The purpose of which was to inform local people about upcoming company operations in Clearwater County in 2019.

Following a complimentary beef-on-a-bun supper, JoAnne Volk and Sara Barcelo from the company's Calgary office made a presentation which included an overview of the world wide operations of the company and investment in local community enterprises.

Repsol's operations in Clearwater County have been cut back from original plans to one well drilled in January this year and three wells to be fracked over the summer. (Fracking opens up the oil/gas bearing formation for production). Each well is about 3 kilometres deep and runs horizontally within the formation for another 3 kilometres or so.

Two of these wells are located on a pad on the east side of Highway 22 in the Dovercourt area (legal 16-31-037-07W5M) and will be supplied with some 150 million litres of fracking water from a water storage pond constructed last year directly to the west of Highway 22 at "Qually's Corner" (legal 03-03-038-07W5M). This dam will be filled from the Clearwater River prior to fracking from a point of diversion on the river (legal NE 15- 038-07W5M) to the north of the storage pond.

The third well, located on the north side of Highway 11 a few kilometres to the east of its intersection with Highway 22 (legal 07-02-039-06W5M) will have its fracking water (about 75 million litres) supplied by hose from a third party water storage pond located a few kilometres further east on the south side of Highway 11 (legal 11-32-038-05W5M).

The cost to Repsol for drilling, completing and tying in a well is about $15 million.

Sara Barcelo spoke about Repsol's Good Neighbour Program

In 2018 Repsol contributed some $90,000 to various community groups within Clearwater County boundaries as a form of social investment. Taxes paid to Clearwater County amounted to $301,980 and royalties to the Province were $941,345.

The event was well attended by local people and Repsol staff members were available to answer technical and other questions about the company's operations.

A concern was expressed by some attendees about fracking induced seismic events experienced in the area and also about the use of large volumes of fresh water in fracking operations.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Physical Literacy Workshop

Guessing game: Be Fit for Life coordinator Barb Marsh participates in group activity

A workshop on Physical Literacy was held at the HUB in Caroline on Wednesday May 1. It was facilitated by Red Deer College's Be Fit For Life program coordinator Barb Marsh and two college students. Nine local people working with children and families participated, learning how to engage groups of children (or adults) in activities conducive to physical and mental development.

The workshop in Caroline was the first in a series to train people in the implementation of the Be Fit For Life program in their communities. As stated in a program information sheet:

"Developing physical literacy is an essential part of healthy child development. Children who are exposed to a multitude of movement experiences in a variety of environments are more confident and competent movers, thus giving them a greater chance of remaining active throughout their lifespan.

The first five years of a child's life are the most important in terms of development as the brain is busy growing and creating neural connections with each new experience. The more a child moves their body in different ways, the more connections are created and the more a child explores these movements, the stronger those connections become building a strong foundation for future learning and development."

Towards the end of the workshop some local "HUB kids" came along and joined in the fun.

To find out more about this program, go online to or contact Barb Marsh directly