Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for February 3, 2014

Fracking can be done safely, committee told

EFLO Energy Inc. says the Yukon could be energy-independent for many years if the company receives the go-ahead to develop the shale gas resources of the Kotaneelee gas field through hydraulic fracturing.

By Ainslie Cruickshank on February 3, 2014 at 4:29 pm

photo

Photo by AinslIe Cruickshank

INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE – H. Wayne Hamal, the chief operating officer for EFLO Energy Inc., presented before the Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing on Friday. Richard Wymann

EFLO Energy Inc. says the Yukon could be energy-independent for many years if the company receives the go-ahead to develop the shale gas resources of the Kotaneelee gas field through hydraulic fracturing.

H. Wayne Hamal, the company’s chief operating officer, presented before the legislature’s Select Committee Regarding the Risks and Benefits of Hydraulic Fracturing on Friday afternoon in the legislative assembly.

The committee heard from eight groups over two days of presentations Friday and Saturday.

During his presentation, Hamal sought to ease concerns about the controversial practice of fracking, and to highlight its potential benefits to the Yukon.

The issue of well safety and the strength of casings was discussed during various presentations over the two days. The EFLO representative raised the topic with one clear objective – to convince the committee and Yukoners that the company can frack safely.

The territorial Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Hamal said, has strong regulations to ensure each well drilled in the Yukon is constructed to high safety standards.

After walking the committee through the basics of well construction, Hamal noted that each well has several layers of cement and steel casings which separate it from any fresh groundwater sources in the upper strata.

The company also noted that the actual horizontal fracks would be kept to a minimum, as the process is very expensive.

The length of each frack would range from 50 to 150 metres at depths of about 3,000 m, Hamal said.

Given the distance between the water table and the shale gas resources, he argued that the environmental risk from hydraulic fracturing in the Kotaneelee is almost nil.

Transitioning to focus on the potential benefits of developing the shale gas resources in southwest Yukon, Hamal noted natural gas could be a less-expensive substitute for diesel.

Natural gas also has lower emissions and is safer to transport, Hamal noted, and it can be moved by truck using existing infrastructure.

A natural gas industry would create jobs and attract more resource industry companies to the territory by reducing the cost of energy, he said.

There are enough conventional gas resources in Kotaneelee to last for five to 10 years, but there is enough shale resource to keep the company in production for more than 50 years, Hamal said.

Richard Wymann, the president of Northern Cross Yukon Ltd., also presented before the committee Friday afternoon.

While Northern Cross is still in an exploration phase and has no plans to frack in the near future, Wymann said, there is rising evidence that hydraulic fracturing could be suitable for use in Eagle Plain to extract natural gas.

Wymann supported Hamal’s assertion that hydraulic fracturing can be done safely in the Yukon with limited environmental impact, and the company operating in the Yukon’s North wants the ability to frack down the line.

The benefits of a burgeoning oil and gas industry offset the risks of industrial activity, Wymann argued, offering the experiences of B.C. and Alberta as proof.

The committee also heard presentations from the Fort Nelson First Nation (see coverage below), the Pembina Institute, the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, the National Energy Board, Gilles Wendling, a hydrologist, Bernhard Mayer, a geoscientist, and Rick Chalaturnyk, a geotechnical engineer.

CommentsAdd a comment

melba

Feb 3, 2014 at 7:27 pm

More Yukon Party B Ess consultation after which they will do whatever they want anyway.

We need to GET RID of the Yukon Party!  And whichever party gets elected next has to be one that is loyal to Yukoners, not to corporate, industrial donors.  I would hope that after the next election, it will be a very, very, very long time before the Yukon Party sees the light of day again.

Remember the Peel.  This government consultation is worth NOTHING.

BnR

Feb 3, 2014 at 7:52 pm

How can they say that it can be done safely?  There is no proof that fracking is safe, given that this process has not been in use for very long.
Hydrological systems are incredibly complex, and do not operate in short time frames.  Aquifers can take hundreds if not thousands of years to regenerate.  We may not see the effects of fracking for many years, so to say that it can be done safely is absurd.
Thalidomide was considered safe until the birth defects started showing up.  Oops.
And the benefits of a burgeoning oil and gas industry outweigh the risks?  If I wanted to live in AB, I would.  No thanks.

Donna Clayson

Feb 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm

It’s stated fracking is safe due to the depths of drilling. My question is: how much land is destroyed around the site before fracking actually begins? Once the permafrost and fauna are destroyed there is no chance of remediation. EFLO Energy Inc talks about below ground but I haven’t heard one word about the damage done above ground. EFLO Energy and those that say fracking is safe know what to say to make everyone believe it’s safe. Territorial residents are not blind or stupid, we know the games these companies play and we won’t play their game. Doesn’t matter what you say, you can’t frack without destroying something. Government, if this is approved remember one thing: you can and will be replaced, our Territory cannot.

hmmm

Feb 3, 2014 at 10:21 pm

I am curious are any of these fracking companies from the states? If so and they are using the same process in the US how do they explain all the cases of contaminated water found around the areas they are fracking?

June Jackson

Feb 3, 2014 at 10:54 pm

personally I think the Paslawsky government has already decided to allow fracking despite the destruction and contamination left in its wake…

That being said, I hope the sitting government are the very first ones to be drinking and bathing in the poisoned water.

kate moylan

Feb 3, 2014 at 11:08 pm

Fracking cannot be done asfely.

A single fracking operation, yes, perhaps can be done safely, but the cumulative effects of multiple wells cannot be done safely. And further, there is the negative value added cost of more traffic, drugs, and migrant workers…Do we as Yukon people feel this will benefit us? We will lose our free nature/crown land to the big companies!

Richard Drechsler

Feb 4, 2014 at 11:14 am

There has been an increasing amount of research into the dangers of fracking. The public needs to educate themselves before making decisions.

http://thetyee.ca/News/2014/02/04/Natural-Gas-Mining-Birth-Defects/

susie rogan

Feb 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm

I was at the Conservative Party bbq this summer in Whitehorse.  Stephen Harper said that the development we have seen so far in the north, ‘just scratches the surface of what is possible and what will be.  Literally, not even scratches the surface.  The north’s future is in development in the north. In fact, Canada’s future is in development in the north.”

D. Pasloski and other Yukon Party members were there clapping along with S. Harper’s view of turning the Yukon into the next Alberta.  They are very enamoured with the idea.  People should be aware that the Yukon Party and the federal conservatives are working together, and working very hard, to see the Yukon become industrialized.

north of 60

Feb 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Contrary to what is misrepresented as a new technique, the idea of hydraulic fracturing has existed since before late U.S. president John Kennedy was in office.

Fracking has been used in Canada since the 1960s. Since then, more than 175,000 wells have been fracked in British Columbia and Alberta “without a case of harm to drinking water,” according to regulating agencies in both provinces. That number constitutes more than a third of all wells in this country in the last half-century.

In New Brunswick there have been 49 fracking operations since the mid-1980s, all without a single report of water contamination. In the United States around 90 per cent of 493,000 active natural gas wells in the country, across 31 states, were fracked.

These numbers do not constitute the unknown record of a new, untested technique that those concerned about its safety would have us believe. Rather, they indicate that concerns about the safety of fracking for water tables, while valid, are grossly exaggerated.

At what point do we cease to concentrate on the negative and stop rejecting the positive experiences of other jurisdictions?

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Opinion/Letter-to-the-Editor/2014-01-03/article-3563650/Nova-Scotians-opposition-to-fracking-unsupported-by-the-facts/1

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