At the time of the frac quake, Geological Survey of Canada said frac’ing didn’t do it.
Vesta Energy Ltd update on 4.6M fracquake near Red Deer March 4, 2019 that knocked out power to 4,600 Fortis Alberta customers, some reports of damage including to home driveway and underground electrical line.
Finally reported in Calgary Herald on January 23, 2020: Central Alberta earthquakes ‘induced’ by fracking, regulator confirms by Bill Kaufmann, Jan 23, 2020, Calgary Herald
Central Alberta earthquakes that caused structure damage and briefly knocked out power to parts of the town of Sylvan Lake were caused by oilfield fracking, says a report by the Alberta Energy Regulator.
And the agency says its investigation has turned up multiple new clusters of such seismic activity in the province.
An investigation by the AER and its Alberta Geological Survey (AGS), states seismic activity on March 4 of last year and March 19, 2018, in the Red Deer area was caused by hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting liquid to loosen rock formations and free up hydrocarbons.
That kind of earthquake activity wasn’t familiar to that area but was highly noticeable when it occurred, said the report.
“Within Alberta, the majority of induced earthquake activity has been focused on areas of the Duvernay Formation development near Fox Creek,” it states.
“However, recent events (19 March, 2018 and 4 March, 2019) were large enough to be felt by nearby residents in the City of Red Deer who were between 4-10 km away.”
It says such seismic activity in a typically more stable area “was suspicious, considering the recent development of the Duvernay East Shale Basin.”
The 4.18-magnitude quake on March 4, 2019, occurred near where Vesta Energy had been conducting fracking, and the company’s activities there were suspended by the AER.
“Complaints of damage from the event were received,” states the report.
None of the tremors caused any injuries.
It also says a small cluster of 2.0-magnitude quakes in the area were also attributable to fracking and that at least 13 new groupings of fracking-induced earthquakes have been found through its investigations.
A Fortis Alberta spokeswoman said they detected a problem at their Sylvan Lake substation at 5:55 a.m. that day, “that the power had tripped off.”
“That’s about the same time as reports of an earthquake in the area started coming in,” added Alana Antonelli.
Power was restored to all of its 4,600 affected customers within about 90 minutes, she said.
Prior to the investigation being completed, Antonelli said “it’s too early to tell that the outage at the substation was caused by the earthquake, but we can likely assume they were related.”
A few days after the March 4 event, Sylvan Lake Mayor Sean McIntyre said there was no need to be alarmed.
“We’re aware of the conversation around the process of hydraulic fracturing,” he said.
“However, at this time, we’re confident in the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (and province’s) ability to protect the health and safety of Albertans, while striking a balance in terms of sustainable economic growth,” he said in a written statement. [Ghastly, his enabling the endless frac harms that so many Albertans are enduring, along with the horrid abuses and rights violations by AER trying to silence the harmed and cover-up the damages suffered instead of holding the companies accountable.]
The AER and AGS use more than 50 monitoring systems across the province to measure and research seismic activity — an issue requiring considerably more information, said the provincial regulator.
“This approach is being continually refined as many of the underlying features are incompletely known, new earthquake clusters continue to occur, the play continues to be developed and our understanding of the triggering mechanisms of these earthquakes grows,” states the report.
In a statement, Vesta Energy said it continues to operate in areas of potential seismic activity while complying with AER regulations.
“Vesta has sophisticated monitoring equipment placed throughout its operating perimeter to detect seismic activity and works with the AER as needed to report any detections of seismic events in the area,” it said.
“The safety of employees, contractors and communities near our operations is paramount for Vesta.”
Fracking caused March 2019 earthquake near Sylvan Lake, say scientists, 4.18 earthquake south of Sylvan Lake rattled doors and windows as far as Red Deer by Paul Cowley, Jan 16, 2020, Red Deer Advocate
Fracking has been confirmed as the cause of an earthquake that rattled homes from Sylvan Lake to Red Deer last March, say government scientists.
“The investigation found that the earthquake was induced by hydraulic fracturing,” said the Alberta Energy Regulator.
The Alberta Geological Survey, a branch of the regulator, undertook the investigation that began shortly after the March 4 earthquake that registered 4.18 on the Richter scale and whose epicentre was about 12 kilometres south of Sylvan Lake.
Last month, a preliminary overview was released of that earthquake and another 3.13 quake near Red Deer in March 2018.
“The shaking from the event was felt by some,” says the Alberta Geological Survey report of the 3.13 earthquake.
By comparison, the 4.18 earthquake was “felt by many,” says the authority. “Complaints of damage from the event were received as well.”
Analysis of seismological data suggested that both earthquakes were “induced,” as were a smaller cluster of seismic events under 2.0 on the Richter scale.
After reviewing historical data, scientists also discovered that oil and gas activity led to another earthquake in the Rocky Mountain House area in 2014.
Calgary-based Vesta Energy was fracking in the Sylvan Lake area when the 4.18 quake was triggered.
Vesta suspended its operations at the site and was required to follow monitoring and reporting protocol and submit a plan to demonstrate how it will “minimize the risk of seismic impacts in the future.”
In May, Vesta was given the green light to resume fracking at sites considered low risk for seismic activity after the Alberta Energy Regulator signed off on a risk assessment plan.
The regulator does not plan to take any additional enforcement against Vesta.
However, the incident led to new seismic monitoring and requirements for all companies fracking in the Red Deer region.
In an emailed reponse to a request for comment, Vesta says that the company “operates in areas with potential for seismicity, and continues to take the necessary precautions to ensure compliance with Alberta Energy Regulator regulations.
“Vesta has sophisticated monitoring equipment placed throughout its operating perimeter to detect seismic activity and works with the AER as needed to report any detections of seismic events in the area.
“The safety of employees, contractors and communities near our operations is paramount for Vesta. We are proud to contribute to the local economy by providing employment opportunities and support to local businesses.” [And frac quake-wrecking your driveways, homes and business!]
The Alberta Geological Survey report notes that there has been a “notable increase” in the number of earthquakes attributed to oil and gas development in the Western Sedimentary Basin.
“In particular, hydraulic fracturing has contributed most significantly to the apparent rate change in the past few years,” says the report, noting only a small proportion of wells triggered earthquakes.
The Alberta Geological Survey has used information gleaned from its investigations of the most recent earthquakes to update its models showing the susceptibility of different areas to fracking-caused earthquakes.
Red Deer County Coun. Christine Moore, whose division covers the area where the Sylvan Lake earthquake occurred last year, said some landowners are uneasy about what happened.
“I think there is a concern,” said Moore.
Moore said she was contacted by a rural resident who was having well trouble that they believe was caused by fracking in the Sylvan Lake area. The Alberta Energy Regulator is working with that person now, she said. [Violating their charter rights like AER did to Ernst? Silencing them with threats? Judging them criminals without due process? Sending in the RCMP to harass and frighten them? Offering or pressuring money & gag?]
“People are worried, and often it is hard to prove (fracking is to blame),” she said.
Moore was glad the incident was investigated.
“I think there are going to be way more restrictions and, obviously, they will be monitored.” [Obviously not, in most parts of Alberta, even where it is known from Encana’s own documents sent by the company to AER and Alberta Environment that the company broke the law and frac’d a community’s drinking water aquifers.]
Refer also to:
Rimbey-area landowner, Stan Pederson, experienced damages to driveway and underground electrical line (requires $2,500.00 repair) at time of Vesta’s 4.6M frac quake; is worried area water wells might have been cracked by the quake felt 50 km away. What about cracks to energy well bores? How many are leaking hydrocarbons into groundwater and or to surface because of frac quakes?
AER orders Vesta Energy to suspend frac operations at well site linked to 4.6M earthquake in Central Alberta
4.6M earthquake, 1 km in depth, most powerful yet in central Alberta, hits SW of Red Deer, cracks walls in homes, knocks power out to thousands. Vesta Energy reports quake to AER, shuts down frac’ing. AER investigating. Geological Survey of Canada says looks like fra’cing didn’t do it.
Lethbridge’s top stories of 2019
… 7) 4.6 magnitude earthquake hits central Alberta near Red Deer
WATCH: (Mar. 4, 2019) The epicentre of Monday morning’s earthquake was about four kilometres south of Red Deer, near Sylvan Lake. Albert Delitala has reaction as some question fracking’s role in the 4.6 magnitude quake.
In early March, a 4.6 magnitude earthquake hit central Alberta near Sylvan Lake and Red Deer just before 6 a.m. according to Natural Resources Canada (NRC).
A professor of Geophysics at the University of Alberta said this particular earthquake, according to current data, is one of the largest the region has experienced.
This wasn’t the first time Alberta has been rocked by seismic activity; in 2018, two seismic events were detected near Alberta Beach, and in 2014 a 4.3 magnitude earthquake hit Rocky Mountain House in August, followed by another small earthquake in Banff in October.
MUST READ! Landowner Vicky Simlik: Living frac’d with earthquake damages in Farmington, NE BC. They frac you again, and again, and again, and again. The frac quakes harm you & your home again, and again, and again.