B.C. halts frack­ing op­er­a­tions in north­east to probe quakes

Vancouver Sun - - CITY -

FORT ST. JOHN The B.C. Oil and Gas Com­mis­sion is shut­ting down oil­field frack­ing op­er­a­tions in an area in the north­east part of the prov­ince for at least 30 days while it in­ves­ti­gates earth­quakes that oc­curred there on Nov. 29.

The reg­u­la­tor says the earth­quakes mea­sur­ing be­tween 3.4 and 4.5 mag­ni­tude took place

near hy­draulic frac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions be­ing con­ducted about 20 kilo­me­tres south­east of Fort St. John by Cal­gary-based Cana­dian Nat­u­ral Re­sources Ltd.

It says the com­pany 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

earth­quake 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 large amounts of wa­ter, sand and chem­i­cals into a well to break up tight rock un­der­ground and al­low trapped oil and gas to flow.

The tech­nol­ogy, along with in­ject­ing oil­field liq­uids into dis­posal wells, have been linked by the B.C. com­mis­sion to pre­vi­ous in­ci­dents of “in­duced seis­mic­ity,” al­though it notes on its web­site none of the events in B.C. have re­sulted in haz­ards to safety or the en­vi­ron­ment or prop­erty dam­age.

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