And here’s why industry’s self-regulator, AER, doesn’t regulate unless publicly pressured to:
Obsidian shares fall after Alberta’s energy regulator says company caused seismic events March 24, 2023 6:30 AM, The Globe and Mail
I wonder how much Encana’s shares would have fallen had the AER regulated the company for its many law violations, including illegally frac’ing and contaminating Rosebud’s drinking water aquifers to the extreme of the county’s concrete water reservoir blowing up in an explosion from an accumulation of gases, seriously injuring the water manager.
Obsidian shares fall after Alberta body says co caused seismic events by Arunima Kumar and Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru, Reuters Staff, March 24, 2023
March 24 (Reuters) – Shares of Obsidian Energy Ltd fell as much as 4% pre-market on Friday after Alberta’s energy regulator said the Canadian oil and gas producer triggered a series of earthquakes in the province between November and March.
The Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) environmental protection order against Obsidian came late on Thursday, following a separate study published by Stanford University and University of Alberta that said injection of wastewater from oil sands operations in the area caused one of the strongest earthquakes in the history of the region.
An investigation conducted by an AER’s branch concluded that Obsidian’s disposal operation induced the seismic events, the regulator said, giving the company 15 days to implement its recommended mitigation plan, among other steps.
Obsidian did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests request for comment on AER’s findings.
Shares of the company were trading down 4% at C$5.74. (Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)
Alberta Energy Regulator issues environmental protection order after earthquake study finds industry link, The regulator issued an environmental protection order for Obsidian Energy by Mrinali Anchan, CBC News, Mar 23, 2023 8:26 PM CDT
The Alberta Energy Regulator announced on Thursday it issued an environmental protection order for a Calgary-based oil and gas company.
The order comes after a joint study from the University of Alberta and Stanford University found an industry link between in situ bitumen recovery and the earthquakes that shook the Peace River region last November. These earthquakes went on record as being the largest documented in the province, with one earthquake having a magnitude of 5.6.
The AER originally said in a news release in November that its investigation’s “initial findings point to natural tectonic activity.”
The study’s researchers found the earthquakes were likely caused by disposal of oilsands wastewater.
“This study shows that … long-term operations have the potential to cause earthquakes,” Ryan Schulz, a geoscience researcher with Stanford and one of the lead researchers, said in an interview.
Following the release of the study, the AER announced an environmental protection order under sections 113 and 241 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act for Obsidian Energy.
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Alberta Energy Regulator’s order to Obsidian Energy (PDF KB)
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Obsidian Energy is a mid-sized oil and natural gas production company.
“The AER has issued this order due to a series of induced seismic events that occurred between November 29, 2022, and March 16, 2023, in the Peace River region,” spokesperson Karen Keller said in a statement.
“An investigation conducted by the Alberta Geological Society (AGS), a branch of the AER, has concluded that Obsidian’s disposal operation induced the seismic events.”
The statement notes the disposal operation includes a well authorized for the disposal of water via injection into the Leduc Formation and that “the unique geological features of the area also contributed to the seismic events.”
Under the order, Obsidian must:
submit plans and take actions acceptable to the AER to reduce the frequency and magnitude of the events. establish seismic monitoring in the surrounding area that detects events above a local magnitude of 2.0 ML. install accelerometers at strategic locations within a 10 kilometres radius of the disposal operation to measure vibration.
“While there is no evidence of damages or injuries from these events, this order and subsequent investigation reflects our commitment to Albertans to ensure safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development,” Keller
said.brazenly lied. There has been damage reported, but of course AER will pretend it into la la land while industry runs to throw some threats with a bit of money, to gag the harmed so companies can keep quakin’ down the street.
The order is intended to prevent future events and protect Albertans.”
CBC has requested comment from Obsidian about how it will fulfil the order.
In 2019, the regulator ordered the company to suspend a well and associated infrastructure after a produced water spill.
The AER’s order stated that it found the spill was not contained and was greater than initially reported when staff visited the site, 40 kilometres northwest of Drayton Valley.
An expert who spoke to CBC said the study’s findings could have a significant effect on industry.
“This kind of study allows us to look at both sides of the coin, and just kind of reminds us that there’s a lot of data that needs to be excavated and examined,” Jeff Gu, a professor of geophysics at the U of A who worked on the study, said Thursday.
“If indeed these [earthquake events] are caused by [or] associated with the injection of disposal water, then we … can all kind of gather and then the energy regulators as well as the operators in the area, they can certainly make some certain plans on the steps in the future in terms of hazard mitigation.”
The study’s researchers hope that their work can prompt more companies to better oversee their operations through seismic monitoring.
CBC requested comment from the ministries of energy and environment and protected areas but was directed to the industry’s self regulatorAER for inquiries.
CBC requested comment from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers who said they are reviewing the study.
The oil and natural gas industry takes induced seismicity very seriously. Protecting the public, workers and infrastructure is a priority,We don’t give a rat’s ass about the public, workers, drinking water aquifers, infrastructure, air, land, water, wildlife, birds, fish, family homes or farms, public health and safety; we just care about money and more money.” association spokesperson Jay Averill said.
A few of the comments:
I bet they won’t have to do anything about this issue until June, 2023.
The AER said last November that the earthquakes were caused by “natural tectonic activity”. Only after the independent University of Alberta and Stanford University study was released did they acknowledge that oil production activity was the cause and then finally issue an Environment Protection Order. The problem is that this is the government entity that will regulate carbon sequestration and communicate to Albertans and all Canadians that the process is safe.
Is that the Energy Regulator / Real Estate guy from Saskatchewan Kenney hired?
Fairly hard for the Alberta oil and gas industry to hide earthquakes, or tell everyone they didn’t happen.Especially with Andrew Nikiforuk’s dogged reporting and The Tyee’s courage publishing his works.
Yes, earthquakes are hard to sweep under the carpet.
Alberta Energy Regulator cites company for causing seismic events in Peace River area by Bob Weber, Updated March 23, 2023 7:24 p.m. CST; Published March 23, 2023 6:40 p.m. CST
The Alberta Energy Regulator has cited an energy company for causing a series of earthquakes, including the largest recorded tremblor in the province’s history.
The environmental protection order issued against Obsidian Energy Ltd. Thursday came the same day a scientific paper was published showing those earthquakes were caused by industry activity — not natural causes, as the regulator initially suggested.
In November, parts of Alberta near the northwestern town of Peace River were rocked by a series of quakes culminating in one that reached a 5.6 magnitude.
Residents reported being knocked to their knees. The earth was pushed upward by more than three centimetres – enough to register on satellites.
- Largest recorded Alberta earthquake not natural, from oilsands wastewater: study
- Trio of quakes shake northern Alberta
- 4.2-magnitude quake recorded south of Grande Prairie
“This event was caused by wastewater disposal,” said Ryan Schultz, a Canadian seismologist who helped conduct the research while at Stanford University in California. His paper on the event, written with colleagues at the University of Alberta and Natural Resources Canada, was published Thursday morning in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
In a release Thursday evening on Twitter, the energy regulator said the protection order was issued after its own investigation.
“An investigation conducted by the Alberta Geological Society, a branch of the AER, has concluded that Obsidian’s disposal operation induced the seismic events,” it said.I call bullshit. I bet AER knew for months that industry was causing the quakes, including the big one last year. Their hand was forced by tenacity, integrity, ethics and courage of researchers and reporters. What a pathetic shameful gong show the AER is.
Oilpatch techniques, such as deep disposal wells that inject wastewater kilometres underground, can induce earthquakes. One such well located near the earthquake site, used to dispose of water used in oilsands operations, has injected more than one millioncubic metres of wastewater down about two kilometres.
After the record-breaking quake occurred, the Alberta Geological Society attributed it to natural causes. The centre of the quake, then estimated to be six kilometres underground, was thought too deep and too far away from oilpatch activity in time and space to have been generated by industry.Frac harm enabling cowards. They know damned well what industry injections can do and have known for decades.
Not so, said Schultz.
A closer and more thorough look at the data brought the centre of the quake up to about four kilometres beneath the surface. At some point, the regulator’s catalogue of Alberta quakes was changed to reflect that figure.
Similarly, Schultz said a look at previous research on so-called “induced seismicity” revealed long lag times between deep-well water injection and earthquakes.
A previous disposal site in Alberta started quaking three years after pumping began, Schultz said. A Dutch disposal well didn’t start causing earthquakes for decades.
As well, history shows deep water disposal can cause earthquakes up to 20 kilometres away. Alberta’s November earthquakes were nowhere near that distant.
“The clusters of earthquakes were right on top of a deep disposal well,” Schultz said.
His paper suggests that the injected water forced itself between the two sides of a fault deep in the earth. That water was enough to reduce the friction holding the two sides together and eventually resulted in a slippage that shook the surface.
Statistical analysis of the correlation between the quakes and the underground pumping was conclusive, Schultz said.
“We had a confidence somewhere between 89 and 97 per cent just in the timing,” he said. “There is enough information to start making these kinds of links.”
Schultz said the findings could have big implications for Canada’s and Alberta’s climate change plans.
Both jurisdictions favour reducing the climate impact of the province’s energy industry by pumping vast amounts of waste carbon dioxide deep underground, much as wastewater is injected. So-called carbon capture and storage could have the same seismic effects as deep wastewater disposal, Schultz said.And, the CO2 does not stay where injected. AER has known that for decades too. It can migrate kilometres underground. When industry’s injected CO2 rises to surface, it can and has killed as Denbury Resources proved, and can cause horrific damages and harms as Bankers Petroleum caused in Albania. Carbon capture and injection for mitigating climate change does not work, which AER and industry know full well. It’s evilly used by industry and it’s enablers like AER and BCER (prev OGC) and our corrupt politicians to con the public to let companies keep raping out billions in profits, drilling and frac’ing for more and more oil and gas using the injected CO2 to enhance recovery, and or to frac, risking the earth’s ability to sustain human life and that of other species. Check out the IPCC’s graph of mitigation tools at the end of this post, Carbon Capture is at the very bottom, too expensive, ineffective, dangerous. If industry had to pay for it themselves, companies would not do it, except for enhanced recovery of their products for profit taking. Companies only do it because in Canada, us idiots pay for it, and our dirty politicians have removed all liability for it off industry, and onto our shoulders.
“If carbon capture is going to be done at a scale that is going to combat climate change, then significant amounts of volume need to be put in the ground,” he said. “You
might expect KNOW then also getting these types of earthquakes the more volume that you store.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean carbon capture and storage is a bad idea, he said, but it means a lot more seismic monitoring needs to take place around the sites to keep track of what’s happening deep in the earth.
“This could be an issue,” Schultz said. “Monitoring will tell.
“You need to be able to see what is going on.”
Obsidian now must submit plans and take actions to reduce the frequency and magnitude of the events, says the protection order, which covers the November quake as well as subsequent events on March 16.
The company, an oil and gas producer that pumps about 33,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, must also establish seismic monitoring in the surrounding area and install equipment within a 10-kilometre radius of the disposal operation to measure vibration.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 23, 2023.
Made at Edmonton, in the Province of Alberta, on March 23, 2023 ALBERTA ENERGY REGULATOR
AER Order Page 1 of 5
Under Sections 113 and 241 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA)
Obsidian Energy Ltd.
200 â€“ 207 9 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2P 1K3
WHEREAS Obsidian Energy Ltd. (Obsidian) is the holder of well licence W0443668 issued by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) under the Oil and Gas Conservation Act at Surface Location 14-18-082-17 W5M, approximately 40 kilometres (km) SE of the Town of Peace River;
WHEREAS the well is authorized for disposal of water via injection into the Leduc formation (the Disposal Operation);
WHEREAS as reported on the Alberta Geological Survey (AGS) Earthquake Dashboard, seismic events occurred on November 29, 2022, approximately 40 km SE of the Town of Peace River, AB, including one event with local magnitude of ML= 5.59;
WHEREAS after the November 29, 2022, seismic events, AGS requested and received operational data from Obsidian for the Disposal Operation;
WHEREAS AGS analysis of the seismic events on November 29, 2022, and the Disposal Operation data did not show a clear correlation between the seismic events and operational changes at the Disposal Operation;
WHEREAS in December 2022, AGS set up a seismic nodal array around the epicentre of the November 29, 2022, seismic events;
WHEREAS between January 2023 and March 16, 2023, AGS analysis started to indicate there may be a connection between the Disposal Operation and seismic events in the area of the Disposal Operation;�
AER Order Page 2 of 5
WHEREAS as reported on the AGS Earthquake Dashboard, seismic events occurred on March 16, 2023, approximately 42 km SE of the Town of Peace River, AB, including one event with local magnitude of ML= 5.09;
WHEREAS on March 17, 2023, AGS received new information from the seismic nodal array and determined the seismic events that occurred approximately 40 â€“ 42 kms SE of the Town of Peace River between November 29, 2022, and March 16, 2023, were spatially and temporally correlated to the Disposal Operation;
WHEREAS the AER concluded that the Disposal Operation induced the seismic events that occurred approximately 40 â€“ 42 kms SE of the Town of Peace River between November 29, 2022, and March 16, 2023;
WHEREAS the AER is not aware of any adverse effects resulting from the induced seismic events to date;
WHEREAS seismic activity and seismic events are vibrations and/or the release of energy into the environment, and vibrations and the release of energy are defined as substances in section 1(mmm)(ii) of EPEA (the Substances);
WHEREAS the Substances, when released, may cause adverse effects as defined in section 1(b) of EPEA;
WHEREAS Erik Kuleba, Director, Field Operations South, has delegated authority to issue orders under section 113 of EPEA (the Director);
WHEREAS the Director is of the opinion that a release of the Substances has occurred, and that the Substances have caused, are causing, or may cause adverse effects;
WHEREAS Obsidian is a â€œperson responsibleâ€ for the Substances as defined in section 1(tt) of EPEA;
THEREFORE, I, Erik Kuleba, Director, Field Operations South, under sections 113 and 241 of EPEA, do hereby order the following:
- Within seven (7) calendar days from the date of this Order, Obsidian must do the following:�
AER Order Page 3 of 5
a. Identify immediate actions that it can take to reduce the frequency and magnitude of
induced seismic events caused by the Disposal Operation (Immediate Action Plan),
b. Meet with AER subject matter experts to determine the appropriateness of the proposed
Immediate Action Plan,
c. Implement the Immediate Action Plan, and
d. Confirm in writing to the Director that Obsidian has implemented the Immediate Action
- Within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of this Order, Obsidian must establish real-time passive seismic monitoring in the area surrounding the Disposal Operation. The monitoring network must be capable of detecting all seismic events above 2.0 ML within a 10 km radius of the Disposal Operation, unless otherwise directed by the AER.
- Within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of this Order, Obsidian must install
accelerometers at strategic locations within a 10 km radius of the Disposal Operation, to the
satisfaction of the Director.
- Within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of this Order, Obsidian must submit, to the
satisfaction of the Director, a plan to reduce the magnitude and frequency of induced seismic
events caused by the Disposal Operation (Mitigation Plan). At a minimum, the Mitigation Plan
a. Identify the mitigative measures that will be taken to reduce the magnitude and frequency
of the induced seismic events related to the Disposal Operation;
b. Provide milestones and/or deadlines for implementation of the mitigative measures; and
c. Provide emergency and communication protocols that Obsidian will follow in the event
of an induced seismic event that may have adverse impacts on infrastructure or public
- Obsidian must implement the Mitigation Plan as authorized in writing by the Director.
- The Director must be notified of, and approve, any proposed deviations to the agreed upon
Mitigation Plan. �
AER Order Page 4 of 5
Information for Submission
- Within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of this Order, Obsidian must submit the following data to the Director as a tabular database, unless otherwise authorized by the Director:
a. all tubing injection pressure, water injection rate, and cumulative water injected data from
the well listed in this Order since the startup of the Disposal Operation to present, and
b. all bottomhole reservoir pressure measurements from the well listed in this Order since
the startup of the Disposal Operation.
- Obsidian must submit any real time monitoring data through the Incorporated Research
Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) data repository using the protocol outlined in the Scientific
Induced Seismicity Monitoring Network (SCISMN) Open File report on the AGS website.
- Obsidian must submit any other information related to the Disposal Operation and seismic events or activity at the Disposal Operation that the Director requests in writing by the date specified in the Directorâ€™s request.
- All information and plans to be submitted to the Director under this Order shall be submitted
- Where a deadline has been specified in this Order, the Director may authorize in writing a
- This Order will remain in effect until such time as a permanent regulatory instrument is in place or the induced seismic hazard from the Disposal Operation has reduced to the satisfaction of the Director.
Dated at the City of Edmonton in the Province of Alberta, the 23rd day of March, 2023.
< original signed by >
Director, Field Operations South
Alberta Energy Regulator�
AER Order Page 5 of 5
In complying with this order, the party or parties named must obtain all approvals necessary,
notwithstanding the above requirements.
This order in no way precludes any enforcement actions being taken regarding this matter under the EPEA sections 113 and 241 or any other provincial or federal legislation, or by any other regulator with jurisdiction.
All enforcement actions issued by the AER may be subject to a follow-up review to confirm previous commitments have been completed and measures have been implemented, to ensure similar noncompliances are prevented in the future. The AER may request any information that demonstrates steps have been taken to prevent repeat noncompliances from occurring.
Under the Responsible Energy Development Act, an eligible person may appeal decisions that meet certain criteria. Eligible persons and appealable decisions are defined in section 36 of the Responsible Energy Development Act and section 3.1 of the Responsible Energy Development Act General Regulation. If you wish to file a request for regulatory appeal, you must submit your request according to the AERâ€™s requirements. You can find filing requirements and forms on the AER website, www.aer.ca, under Regulating Development: Project Application: Regulatory Appeal Process.�
Thank you Tyee, Charles Russnell and Andrew Nikiforuk!
2023 03 23, a few hours earlier: New Standford study confirms Tyee investigation: Tarsands high pressure injections near Peace River most likely caused 2022 5.6M earthquake (largest in Alberta so far) and others, felt as far away as Edmonton; More quakes (4.6 to 5) in 2023, also felt in Edmonton. AER, industry’s self regulator, as usual, blames nature.
2023 03 23: On the Hot Seat: Alberta Energy Regulator CEO Laurie Pushor, A toxic oilsands leak long stayed secret and Parliament wants to know why. Critics aren’t surprised
The land deal alone should have disqualified Pushor from any further government employment, in any province. Corruption or incompetence? It doesn’t matter. I’m thinking that people, unnamed in this article, have made out quite nicely with Pushor’s decisions.
Apparently, Pushor is one of “the best and brightest CEO’s” in the business (https://www.dailyoilbulleti…. What a joke. Hey Laurie, how is going with the orphan wells and tailings pond remediation?
This follows the AER’s decision, less than three years ago, to hire John Weissenberger, Kenney’s And Slimy Steve Harper’s too! campaign manager and climate denier, as the their vice president of science and innovation (https://www.theenergymix.co….
Surely, the people of Alberta deserve better than this.
2021: AER’s new CEO Laurie Pushor farting spin to make landowners, counties, municipalities ripped off by oil & gas shut up?
2020: AER’s new “Dickhead” Laurie Pushor off to Kenney-wanna-be-Trump races: “No Duty of Care” AER abuses Covid-19 crisis to deregulate oilpatch and foothills coal mining. (Stephen Cousin’s sketch may offend some, but it’s too perfect not to add to this vulgar news.)
2020: AER picks next “Dickhead” (Pres & CEO): “Back Door” Laurie Pushor, reportedly scandle-corroded pisser on rules, conflict of interest old white man, was Alberta gov’t official under Ralph Klein, is Saskatchewan’s Deputy Minister Energy & Resources and on the Board of STEP, Sask Trade & ***Export*** Partnership
2020: AER skulduggery escalates: Dave Goldie, Encana & Cenovus VP is new Chair (first was Encana & Cenovus VP Gerry Protti); Martin Foy, Encana crime-enabler, appointed Exec VP (remember AER exec VP, ex-Encana lying manager Mark Taylor?); Propagandizing Synergy Queen, Tracey McCrimmon & Encana crime-enabler Bev Yee appointed to the Board; Anti-science climate change denier, Steve Harper’s best buddy/compaign manager, Kenney’s Kamikazi campaign manager, John Weissenberger, made VP Technical Science & External Innovation Branch.