AER laid five environmental and conservation-related charges against Tourmaline Oil and spinoff Topaz Energy Corp., and three charges against CWC Energy Services for knowingly leaking sour gas (H2S) “that impacted human health” in 2018 near Spirit River, Alberta. Court hearing Feb 19, 2020 in Grand Prairie. Why no charges against Encana, now Ovintiv, for its illegal sour gas venting near Rosebud and illegally operating a sour gas facility and wells as sweet?

AER refusing to release any details is just another disgraceful petrostate cover-up.

Why charges in this case, but not against Encana for putting the residents of Rosebud at risk with life-threatening concentrations of methane, other hydrocarbons and undisclosed chemical additives contaminating their drinking and bathing water after the company illegaly frac’d the community’s fresh water aquifers?

Encana (now Ovintiv, aka Ovarytits) also illegally vented sour gas near Rosebud and worse, operated a sour gas facility and wells as sweet and sold them to Harvest under that deception. This was reported to the AER (when it was an earlier deregulator). They did nothing but look the other way.

Encana didn’t even have the decency to notify Rockyford’s volunteer fire department that the company’s sour facilities/wells were not designated on signs as the life threatening danger that they are and did not notify landowners living and working next door either.

Shall we take bets on what happens with the court hearing?

Judge will order a bit of money paid by the companies (because companies province-wide spew out deadly toxic fumes all the time; can’t pick on these three poor companies), dolled out by AER or the companies to synergized pollution-enabling NGOs like Pembina Institute (to make the companies appear like great corporate citizens), or company execs will do hokey pokey with the AER and judge at the Petroleum Club resulting in a nice deal with the judge ordering settle and gag, so that the public never finds out what happened.

All just another AER/CAPP scam to make the public think someone’s minding the toxic oil patch and there is some “justice” for some of the poisoned? Maybe the AER only charged these companies because a judge lives in the neighbourhood, and got sour gassed.

Tourmaline, Topaz, and CWC Energy Services charged after H2S release Press Release by AER, Jan 20, 2020

VIEW PDF (90.42 KB)

For immediate release

Calgary, Alberta (Jan 20, 2020)…

January 20, 2020… The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has laid charges against Tourmaline Oil Corp., Topaz Oil Corp. (formerly Exshaw Oil Corp.), and CWC Energy Services Corp. for a release of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) that impacted human health.

Five charges have been laid against both Tourmaline and Topaz, and three charges against CWC Energy Services. The charges, which fall under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and Oil and Gas Conservation Act, are related to an H2S release near Spirit River on February 25, 2018.

The first court appearance for Tourmaline, Topaz, and CWC will be on February 19 in Grande Prairie.

The AER ensures the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon resources over their entire life cycle. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.

[AER bull shit, as usual. The economic hook is nasty lie touted often by AER spinners. The industry the AER “regulates” is bankrupting Alberta and her environment. AER has no economic mandate, no public health mandate, and no mandate to operate in the public interest, ensuring private profit over all Albertans and the environment.

Health, safety, environmental protection, water protection and economic benefits all be damned by industry and its pollution and law-violation enabler, the AER.

I am an Albertan, yet AER/ERCB/EUB and Encana ensured massive harm to my home, my water well, my loved ones, me, my safety, health and well-being, and my property when EUB helped cover-up Encana breaking the law and secretly frac’ing directly into my community’s drinking water supply, harming many, including seriously injuring and hospitalizing our water manager when the community water tower blew up in an explosion from an accummulation of gases in the water.

EUB went so far as to violate my Charter rights, trying to scare me into silence when I presented documented evidence of Encana breaking the law. The “regulator” judged me a criminal, in writing, copied the RCMP, and involved the Attorney General, without any arrests, fingerprinting, due process, hearing or trial and no chance for me to defend myself against the EUB’s lies and criminal judgement. I have only lost money and time, lots of it, because of the AER.]

– 30 –

For more information, please contact:

Shawn Roth, AER Engagement and Communications
E-mail: email hidden; JavaScript is required
Media line: 1-855-474-6356

Three oilpatch companies charged in sour gas leak by Emma McIntosh, January 20th 2020, National Observer

The Alberta Energy Regulator has charged three companies for allegedly releasing toxic gas that “impacted human health” near a town in the northwestern region of the province in 2018.

The gas was hydrogen sulphide, a toxic substance that smells like rotten eggs and can be fatal in high doses, the regulator said Monday. The charges are against Calgary-based natural gas producer Tourmaline Oil, a Tourmaline-controlled spinoff company called Topaz and CWC Energy Services Corp., a drilling and well-servicing company.

The gas was released on Feb. 25, 2018, near Spirit River, a northwest Alberta town that’s a five-hour drive from Edmonton.

In a press release, the AER didn’t elaborate on how the hydrogen sulphide affected human health. Also known as H2S or sour gas, hydrogen sulphide can sometimes leak from the wellheads, pump jacks, pipes, tanks and flare stacks of oilfields.

H2S is colourless and can cause permanent disabilities, even at non-fatal doses. In Canada, it has sickened and killed oilfield workers and, in one case, killed livestock in Saskatchewan. [And killed livestock in Alberta, refer below]

The AER press release also didn’t include exact details on how the incident happened, where the H2S was released, how high concentrations of the gas were and how many people were affected.

“To ensure each company has a right to a fair prosecution, the AER cannot release any further details,” said AER spokesperson Shawn Roth in an email. [That’s bullshit.]


The incident report on AER’s Compliance Dashboard does not even respect Albertans or the public enough to state that deadly sour gas was involved or that health was harmed:


However, the regulator previously noted the incident and a follow-up investigation in its compliance dashboard, an online database of energy industry-related incidents. In its initial report, the AER said it happened during “servicing operations” at a well and that there were “no impacts to wildlife or waterbodies.”

The regulator noted that the incident was reported on Feb. 28, 2018, three days after it happened. The report also said that the amount of gas leaked was less than 0.1 cubic metres, or about 100 litres.

On Aug. 9, the AER passed the case on to the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether charges should be laid, the regulator said.

Five charges have been laid against both Tourmaline and Topaz: two counts of knowingly releasing a substance that caused or may have caused an adverse affect, two counts of failing to report the incident as soon as possible and one count of failing to obey AER requirements around well safety.

CWC Energy Services faces three charges, two for releasing a substance that caused or may have caused an adverse effect and one for failing to comply with well safety rules.

The charges aren’t criminal, falling under Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, and the Oil and Gas Conservation Act. The companies’ first court date will be Feb. 19 in Grande Prairie, Alta.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 2:53 p.m. to include additional information from the AER.

Comment to the above article:

Jeff Christian

Great. Lives endangered. Companies charged. No individuals charged. Guess where this will go.

Alberta companies face charges after 2018 hydrogen sulphide leak near Spirit River by The Canadian Press, Jan 20, 2020, Global News
Alberta’s energy regulator has laid charges against three oil and gas companies after a release of poisonous hydrogen sulphide that affected human health.

Five charges have been laid against Tourmaline Oil Corp. and Topaz Oil Corp., and three charges have been laid against CWC Energy Services Corp.


The charges fall under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act and the Gas Conservation Act.

They are related to a hydrogen sulphide leak near Spirit River, Alta., on Feb. 25, 2018.

Hydrogen sulphide is a colourless and poisonous flammable gas that smells like rotten eggs and can cause chest pain, difficulty breathing, vomiting and headaches.

All three companies are to appear in a Grande Prairie court on Feb. 19.

Three energy companies charged in hydrogen sulphide leaks by Bill Kaufmann, Jan 20, 2020, Edmonton Journal

Three energy companies have been charged with leaking potentially deadly hydrogen sulphide gas in Northern Alberta.

The Alberta Energy Regulator has laid five environmental and conservation-related charges against both Tourmaline Oil and its spinoff Topaz Energy Corp., and three charges against CWC Energy Services.

It’s alleged the Calgary-based firms leaked hydrogen sulphide “that impacted human health” in the Spirit River area on Feb. 25, 2018. [But, but but Encana’s and AER’s hired sour gas gun (expert), Dr. Don Davies with Intrinsik, downplays sour gas’ risk and how how harmful it is a low concentrations, pimps that it’s “natural” and that industry’s toxic air pollution is all in our minds, unleashed by our stresses because we don’t like the “odours” produced by our “good neighbours” in the oil and gas industry.]

The charges allege the companies are guilty of “knowingly releasing a substance to the environment that caused or may have caused an adverse effect.”

Representatives from the companies are scheduled to appear in court Feb. 19 in Grande Prairie.

With just a few breaths at higher concentrations, hydrogen sulphide — a colourless, flammable gas that smells like rotten eggs — can lead to unconsciousness, respiratory paralysis, coma and even death.

An AER spokesman said no further details on the leak and its impact would be released because the matter’s before the courts.

“To ensure each company has a right to a fair prosecution, the AER cannot release any further details on its investigation findings,” Shawn Roth said in a statement.

[Surely protecting public health and the public interest requires letting the public know who was harmed, where, and if the people have recovered or not. Oh ya, AER has no public health mandate and does not have to operate in the public interest.]

Brief release of potentially dangerous sour gas in northwest Alberta by The Canadian Press, March 9, 2018, Global News

There was a release of potentially dangerous sour gas near a small community in northwestern Alberta, RCMP said Friday.

Police said the gas was released Friday afternoon by a plant near Bay Tree about 100 kilometres northwest of Grande Prairie. [About 60 km west of Spirit River]

First responders and energy industry safety staff determined the gas release happened once and does not pose an ongoing safety or health concern.

Police said they received lots of calls from people wondering if they should leave the area.

Monitoring equipment has not detected any more gas and there is no risk to public safety, RCMP added.

The Alberta Energy Regulator website says sour gas is natural gas that contains measurable amounts of hydrogen sulphide that smells like rotten eggs and is poisonous to humans and animals.

RCMP said if the situation changes, people in the area would be notified

Refer also to:

Sour Gas damages the brain, even at very low levels:

1. Exposure to levels below 10 ppm permanently damage the human brain

2. Harm from levels below 10 ppm by Worksafe Alberta

3. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) LOW LEVEL HEALTH HARM WARNINGS:

Sour Gas Concentration (ppm)/Symptoms/Effects

0.01-1.5 ppm/Odor threshold (when rotten egg smell is first noticeable to some). …

2-5 ppm/Prolonged exposure may cause nausea, tearing of the eyes, headaches or loss of sleep. Airway problems (bronchial constriction) in some asthma patients.

Fueling Fears by CTV W-5, Feb 7, 2009. Some harms to Albertans from sour gas detailed in the clip below:

The Silent Killer Strikes Again: Texas oilfield worker killed after exposure to H₂S (sour) gas at Aghorn Energy site in Odessa, Wife (mother of 3) dies checking on him, Two children exposed but survived. Lawsuit filed.

2005 NRC Canada, Towards meaningful stakeholder comprehension of sour gas facility risk assessments

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety has recorded 16 fatalities of workers exposed to H2S over the last 25 years in the oil and gas industry and the associated service sectors (WCB 2004). [How many hundreds before that?]

New Study: Sulfide-producing bacteria dominate hydraulically fractured shale oil & gas wells. “An estimated 70% of waterflooded reservoirs world-wide have soured.”

Whimps Extraordinaire! Ex-Encana VP (Gerard Protti) led AER taps Encana with $7,500 administrative penalty for major sour gas blowout at Fox Creek Alberta, Nothing for intentionally injecting 18 million litres of frac fluid into Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers.

Encana’s Vexatious Sour Gas Frack Flaring near Grand Prairie, Alberta; After clip posted, Encana pulls a scrubby dubby.

AER & Encana Lying Update: Encana’s Deadly Sour Gas Blow Out at Fox Creek: Did Alberta’s Energy Minister lie for Encana & “No Duty of Care,” cover-up agent extraordinaire, the AER?

IT’S A BIG ONE! AER Order against Sprocket Energy sour gas well leak/spill (by frac hit?) six km SW of Town of Fox Creek. Why no media coverage on possibly life-threatening, brain damaging leak near busy Smoke Lake Provincial Park Campground?

Frac Hit at Fox Creek? Wanna bet industry’s pet lamb, AER, will issue no fine? 460,000 litres fluids & contaminated water spews forth from abandoned Sprocket Energy Corp sour gas well 6 km SW of Fox Creek, Nothing reported in the media!

Ontario 2 years ago: In Norfolk, leaking abandoned industry *sour* gas wells forces exclusion zone for vehicles, vessels, and evacuation of 22 homes. In nearby Town of Jarvis (population 2,300), unusually high methane readings, firefighters test gas levels at every home. Compare to grossly negligent, “No Duty of Care,” Charter-violating, lying, spying, heinous AER covering-up industry’s deadly gas leaks.

AER: Toothless, Legally Immune (even for acts in bad faith and gross negligence), Charter Violating, Best in the World Wonder. Why hasn’t AER shut rogue Lexin Resources Ltd. down? Why leave Albertans in danger of being killed or poisoned? “The regulator said in an order released Tuesday that if Lexin and its related company, LR Processing, fail to provide sufficient oversight, sour gas could be released into the environment with potentially dangerous effects.”

Sour Gas Workout: ‘It stinks at Gold Bar’ Epcor Waste Water Treatment Plant, Alberta Environment tests find sour gas above guidelines in downtown Edmonton

Why are Spectra Energy and the NEB lying about flaring deadly sour gas at Taylor, BC, claiming it poses no risk to the public?

B.C. gas-well health study by Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. called into question An environmental group says they are concerned a company hired by the B.C. government to study oil and gas health risks in the Peace Region may be biased because of its previous work for the industry. The group, the Peace Environment and Safety Trustees Society, says Calgary-based Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. has previous involvement with the oil and gas industry. Society spokesman Tim Ewert said Intrinsik was hired by EnCana Corporation after a sour gas leak in 2009 and spoke with residents about how sour gas was affecting their health. “We felt during their presentation that they down-played the dangers of [sour gas] extremely well,” Ewert said. Ewert worries the study will downplay residents’ concerns once again.

Intrinsik spokesman Bart Koppe insists that won’t happen. You know, our work is strictly dictated by science and our interpretation of science cannot and never be influenced by our client,” Koppe said. [Too pathetic.]

Study: Co-exposures of two chemicals at safe levels doubles chances of cancer

Chemical toxicology in the fracking zone The major problem is the mixture problem. And I can’t overemphasize how serious that is in trying to understand what’s going on… The presence of one agent can increase the toxicity of another agent by several fold.

TINY DOSES OF GAS DRILLING CHEMICALS MAY HAVE BIG HEALTH EFFECTS, Authors of new study encourage more low-dose testing of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, with implications for the debate on natural gas drilling

First Study of Its Kind Detects 44 Hazardous Air Pollutants at Gas Drilling Sites, With gas wells in some states being drilled near schools and homes, scientists see a need for better chemical disclosure laws and follow-up research

Marcellus gas compressor stations and processing plants, near to one another or even linked, are evaluated individually for pollution to ensure that oil and gas industry doesn’t have to implement emissions controls; this is the same in Alberta

B.C. school kids in danger, can suffer DNA damage illness from leaking sour gas several km away, yet B.C. allows wells within 100 m (~330 feet) of schools while Dallas City Council votes in 1,500 foot setback from homes and wells!

In a single recent five-year span there were 73 documented sour gas leaks in B.C. and 34 workers died as a result of sour gas exposure since 1983.

Yellow dots are sour gas wells; red dots are schools in Dawson Creek/Fort St. John area.

LISTEN: The Current: What happens when oil drilling and frac’ing, with 400 ppm deadly H2S, is too close to homes and schools?

Health report: some Alberta doctors refused to treat families exposed to toxic emissions by Baytex in Peace Country, one lab refused to process a test

SPECIAL REPORT: Sour gas from oil wells a deadly problem in southeast Saskatchewan, Human and animal deaths linked to hydrogen sulphide emissions

NE B.C. horse breeder recounts fracking sour gas leak scare caused by Encana

Encana Reaches Compensation Deal for Sour Gas Leak

$250000 in community safety projects following Encana deadly sour gas leak Encana sure bought the poisoned community off cheap and easy, and got out of criminal charges by doing so.

Sulfolane (used to sweeten sour gas) leak at Bonavita Energy’s South Rosevear Gas Plant, Edson Alberta, contaminated drinking water, severe health harm experienced by Mersadese Royale, her husband and children; Family evicted after raising concerns publicly

Edson, Alberta, South Rosevear Sour Gas Plant: 2.8 million standard cubic feet per day of H2S / CO2 acid gas injected since 2007

Crossfield steer killed by Taqa North sour gas release

Kaiser Oil Well to be frac’d in Calgary near sour gas, letter to Premier Alison Redford

Crews Still Trying to Contain Sour Gas Leak by Questerre Energy Corporation South of Grand Prairie (near recent groundwater contamination case caused by fracing) & north of Grand Cache, Alberta

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