B.C. halts northeast fracking operations
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. •The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission is shutting down oilfield fracking in an area in the northeast for at least 30 days while it investigates earthquakes that occurred there on Nov. 29.
The regulator says the tremors measuring between 3.4 and 4.5 magnitude took place near hydraulic fracturing operations about 20 kilometres southeast of Fort St. John by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
It says the firm immediately suspended that work and it won’t be allowed to resume without the written consent of the commission.
According to Natural Resources Canada, the 4.5 magnitude quake was felt in Fort St. John, Taylor, Chetwynd and Dawson Creek but did no damage. It was followed by two smaller aftershocks.
Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into a well to break up tight rock and allow oil and gas to flow. The technology, along with injecting oilfield liquids into disposal wells, has been linked by the B.C. commission to previous incidents of “induced seismicity,” although none of the events in B.C. have resulted in hazards to safety or the environment.