Bulletin 2012-24

Bulletin 2012-24: Invitation for Feedback – Hydraulic Fracturing Directive

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Invitation for Feedback – Hydraulic Fracturing Directive

Dec 06, 2012

As Alberta’s primary energy regulator, the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) establishes the rules under which oil and gas development can take place. Over the last 75 years, the ERCB has consistently worked to review and update its rules in light of new issues, risks, opportunities, and challenges and to adapt as technology, experience, and social expectations have evolved.

The increasing use of hydraulic fracturing technologies with horizontal drilling has required such a review, and as a result, the ERCB has created additional regulations on subsurface activity during hydraulic fracturing operations.

The ERCB has prepared a draft directive that sets out additional subsurface requirements for hydraulic fracturing operations. The directive includes requirements intended to:

  • prevent the loss of well integrity at a subject well (a well in which a licensee proposes to conduct hydraulic fracturing operations),
  • reduce the risks of interwellbore communication between a subject well and an offset well,
  • maintain well control at an offset well in the event of interwellbore communication with a subject well, and
  • prevent impacts to nonsaline aquifers, water wells, and the surface.

A number of ERCB directives are already in place to ensure the responsible development of all Alberta’s energy resources, including the following:

Once finalized, the draft directive would rescind both Directive 027: Shallow Fracturing Operations – Restricted Operations and Bulletin 2012-02: Hydraulic Fracturing; Interwellbore Communication between Energy Wells.

The ERCB is also reviewing its regulatory framework to evolve requirements to address other issues related to unconventional oil and gas development, including surface and water impacts.

The draft directive can be found at www.ercb.ca. Feedback will be accepted until January 18, 2013. Send all feedback and questions by e-mail to URF_Feedback@ercb.ca, or by mail to the Regulatory Development Branch, ERCB, Suite 1000, 250 – 5 Street SW, Calgary, AB T2P 0R4.

All feedback received will be reviewed for the purposes noted in the bulletin and will be posted on the ERCB’s website. All of the comments provided through this consultation will form part of the public record and, at the discretion of the ERCB, any comment received may also be attributed to the specific individual(s) providing it. Personal information provided with comments will be collected, used, and disclosed in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The ERCB may use the personal contact information you provide for follow-up communication related to your feedback.

Paper copies of the draft directive are available from ERCB Information Services, Suite 1000, 250 – 5 Street SW; telephone: 403-297-8311; fax: 403-297-7040; e-mail: infoservices@ercb.ca. The directive is also available at www.ercb.ca.

<original signed by>

Cal Hill
Executive Manager
Regulatory Development