rockdoc123 wrote:The Rosebud issue is first of all, nothing to do with shale gas fracing and secondly was investigated by Alberta Environment. Encana was engaged in coalbed methane production which is completely unrelated in terms of activity. Here they use nitrogen not to frac but to open up the natural coal “cleat” system and then produce all of the bound water in the coal until the point at which methane is produced. Alberta Environment issued a report in early 2008 which stated the methane in Ernst’s water well was naturally occurring and due to poor condition of the water well and poor maintanence of the well.
Ernst having not gotten the answer she wanted is now suing Encana, Alberta Environment and the ERCB for 30 MM. Her claim is that it was the Encana production activity that caused methane to appear in her drinking water. I see this as highly unlikely given the distance to the nearest Encana wells. In CBM operations well spacing is very, very close (less than a hundred metres) simply because it is the only way to properly de-water the coal and get gas transmissibility. As I mentioned in a previous post the simply production of water from a water well that has coal seams exposed will de-water that coal and after a period of time methane will be desorbed and produced. This can take years of water production under normal rates so her experience is not uncommon.
It’s in front of courts so Encana has gone silent which they are required to do.
It's important to understand that CBM and shale gas extraction are completely different operations with completely different risks. CBM requires more care simply because operations are generally shallow and close to acquifers and the ability to case off the well is more challenged.
Alberta Environment, as relates to the investigation in this case, is a joke.
It seems to me that there are some similarities with regards to the fracturing process that infiltrated Ms. Ernst's property in the way that water, sand and chemicals at high pressure were used, and also in the way that new pathways and fractures created in the fracturing process are probably responsible for the contamination of the aquifer at Rosebud and Ms. Ernst's well. CBM is done at shallower depths, but the network of fractures, man-made and natural, that results underground after lots of fracturing in an area is one of the main concerns for people wanting to protect their water from contamination, isn't it? In any case, the Ernst vs. Encana case is a good example of wrongdoing by both industry and government boards that are supposed to protect the environment from industry.