Calgary Herald

Talisman halted fracking for 8 days

- KEVIN DOUGHERTY

Calgary’s Talisman Energy Inc. suspended all hydraulic fracturing operations for about eight days across North America this month after what it described as “a well-control incident” in Pennsylvan­ia.

Talisman spokeswoma­n Phoebe Buckland said Thursday that the company halted all its fracking operations after “a water-based fluid release,” at its Pennsylvan­ia well and notified the Pennsylvan­ia Department of Environmen­tal Protection.

“These sorts of incidents, we take very seriously,” Buckland said. “Safety is our absolute first priority.”

Pennsylvan­ia’s Department of Environmen­tal Protection made the incident public on Wednesday.

Fracking, or hydraulic rock fracturing, is the process of drilling horizontal wells, then pumping a mixture of water, chemicals and sand under pressure to break rock formations, releasing natural gas trapped in shale.

But concerns haven been raised that the fracking process will have unwanted environmen­tal and health consequenc­es.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest and his ministers, while saying shale gas must pass environmen­tal and health tests before it is developed, have been largely supportive of the new energy source, saying shale gas would reduce Quebec’s $14-billion annual imports of oil and gas.

Talisman, which is developing five of Quebec’s 31 shalegas wells, stopped fracking at the time of the Jan. 16 incident in Pennsylvan­ia and only resumed the procedure on Wednesday.

Talisman currently has no drilling or fracking operations in Quebec, Buckland noted. Fracking operations in Quebec are planned at two wells in the spring.

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