First-hand SPOG (Sundre Petroleum Operator’s Group) experience by an adversely affected Albertan, Stewart Shields, who took on Shell, the ERCB (then EUB, now AER) and SPOG’s synergized secrets on the Caroline Sour Gas Cover-Up to the Office of the Information and Privacy Officer and won by Stewart Shields, January 4, 2014
SPOG have been a successful entity in coming between the responsible petroleum developer and the surrounding public!! Also very useful when industry needs a survey on any industry subjects delivered in a timely industry favoured manner—from a supposedly public body!! SPOG where the action group involved in the March 12th 2003 “Caroline Cover-Up” where Shell Canada had a leak of 40% H2S gas, the first thing to go was the truth, the second was Shells Telephone System!!
This caused little kindergarten children to be picked up at their gates and hauled into the H2S plume in the village of Caroline!!
Shell/SPOG were still able through support from the ERCB [then EUB, now AER] to keep facts that they had no abilities to reach those in their emergency areas and simply sat out following conditions laid out plainly in Shell Canada’s emergency program!!
Information gained through FOI request show the ERCB actually requested Shell/Spog indicate in their investigation report on the accident that they allowed these children to be picked up on purpose?? Few in the community realize what really took place outside those that have a Shell relationship or work for another SPOG company.
Industry make wise investments—SPOG was an investment to move industry a tier away from direct contact with affected citizens and to handle many scenarios that should be rightfully handled by the provincial regulator!! The ERCB were never involved in the 5hr. H2S release we now call the Caroline Cover-Up arriving only after being invited by the Shell /SPOG group—with the leak isolated and DE pressured!!
Who was there to disagree with facts presented by both SHELL and Spog as to events of a very very poor accident response! SPOG is certainly not for this survivor of their stupidity and the ERCB fettering their discretion to satisfy the foreign Shell Canada!! SPOG was meant to tone down community response to development—but is that wise in dangerous areas???
Synergy Group SPOG says fracking protests not expected to hit Mountain View County by Patricia Riley, October 29, 2013, Mountain View Gazette
Fracking protests are not expected in the Mountain View County area, with area companies working to keep the community informed about activities and projects in the region, according to Tracey McCrimmon, executive director of Sundre Petroleum Operators Group (SPOG). “We knew that there were concerns and most of those concerns were due to a lack of information and lack of education,” said McCrimmon. SPOG is a collection of oil and gas companies operating in the Sundre area. It also includes non-voting associate members such as Mountain View County. It promotes awareness of oil and gas issues through workshops, newsletters and community dialogue, she said.
SPOG officials performed a proactive engagement process that took a year and a half and was completed in June, she said. “It took us a year and a half to get through it and we addressed all the issues,” she said. “At the end of the day, the things that we thought were the biggest issues all came back to issues that is not necessarily fracking – it’s communication.”
There are currently protests against proposed fracking happening in New Brunswick that have gained international news coverage. McCrimmon said she believes that if companies in New Brunswick followed the same regulations as are in place in Alberta, there would be no problems. [Yet New Brunswick insists their regulations are better than Alberta’s. Besides, 200 Albertans protested Kaiser’s plans to frac near sour gas in Calgary so vehemently, that Kaiser moved their frac project 2,300 metres away.] …
SPOG member companies perform three common fracks, including a gelled frack, a surfactant gelled (foam) frack and a slick water frack. A gelled water frack uses 420 car washes’ worth of water, a surfactant gelled (foam) frack uses 440 showers’ worth of water and a slick water frack uses one Olympic-size swimming pool’s worth of water. Member companies of SPOG try to use recycled water whenever possible, such as runoff and flood water, she said.
“In the SPOG boundary, there were plans for roughly 150 wells to be drilled for 2013. Out of those, probably 80 plus per cent will be multi-stage fracked,” she said. Water-based fracture fluid is 99.6 per cent water and frack fluid additives are also used in daily household items, she said. For example, one of the additives used in some fracks is guar bean gum, which is also used as a thickener in cosmetics, toothpaste and sauces. It is a gellant used in some frack fluid as a water viscosifier and it forms gel to suspend sand. Another additive, called propylene glycol, is also used in cough syrup and food processing. It is used as a carrier fluid antifreeze in some frack fluids to freeze proofing of water-based carrier fluids.
She said SPOG member companies use multi-well pads where possible, and fracking occurs hundreds or thousands of metres below the deepest water aquifer. Water wells in Central Alberta produce from an average depth of 50 metres and the minimum surface casing depth required is between 265 and 290 metres. Member companies of SPOG are setting depths averaging 600 metres, she said. [contradicts her statement above]
Fracking has been used in Alberta since the 1950s and there has never been a documented case of hydraulic fracturing activities contaminating groundwater in Alberta, she said. [The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) documented a proven case of groundwater contaminated in September 2011 by frac’ing] If anyone has any concerns they are asked to call the SPOG office, she said. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
Letter in Response: Comparing apples to oranges to peaches by Bill Crist, November 5, 2013, Mountain View Gazette
You are effectively comparing apples to oranges to peaches. One has to wonder why you chose to explain it that unclearly. [Emphasis added]
Letter in response: Where’s the regulator? Environmentally responsible fracking a must by Diana Daunheimer, November 12, 2013, Mountain View Gazette
Angle Energy moves to quell fracking fears by Johnnie Bachusky, June 12, 2013, Mountain View Gazette
With a goal to counter increasing media attention on the potential dangers of horizontal fracking, Calgary-based Angle Energy Inc. resumed its own aggressive public relations campaign last week with an open house and dinner for dozens of county residents and stakeholders. “We take the concerns very seriously. Certainly there has been some very high profile stories in the news,” said Heather Christie-Burns, Angle Energy’s president and chief operating officer who attended the June 5 open house at the Didsbury Agricultural Society Grounds. “We are hoping for questions. Our goal is to understand whatever everyone is wondering, what they are thinking. The press is certainly a big driver of information that causes concerns and questions.” Angle Energy, a publicly traded company whose operations are solely in Alberta, has been conducting horizontal fracking operations west and north of Didsbury in what is known as the Harmattan field since 2005. There are currently up to 70 well sites in this area and about 130 kilometres of pipeline. …
And while the open house and dinner attracted up to 75 area residents the mood was more upbeat than one of concern over fracking, a controversial hydraulic process that blasts open tight oil, gas and coal formations with high pressurized amounts of water, sand and chemical to release methane or light oil. “There are no fears. It is safe. When there are that many miles down it is not hurting us,” said county resident Margaret Hosegood, who recently had four wells drilled on her property and attended the open house last week. “They can come and punch all the wells they want to on there and frack them.”
The issue came to full public attention last January when an oil well blowout from a hydraulic fracking operation on a farmer’s field west of Innisfail resulted in the messy release of fracturing fluid and some crude oil. Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) was forced to launch an investigation.
“Fracking isn’t new. It has just hit the media more. We are trying to explain ourselves on how we are protecting ground water and what procedures we follow to make sure we follow regulations,” said Graham Cormack, Angle’s vice president of operations, who was at last week’s open house. “Because always, the fear is the unknown. That is human nature – fear of the unknown. When people think of fracturing, they don’t know about it. They have fear about it. We want people to know what fracturing is all about.” Cormack said his company follows every industry and government regulation. He added there are multiple layers of pipe and concrete in the ground that are tested prior to fracturing, as well as pressurized surface equipment that is also meticulously monitored and tested. [Emphasis added]
Where’s the regulator? Mountain View County resident Diana Daunheimer takes on Angle Energy Inc. over frac impacts and regulation violations by Kevin Vink, July 9, 2013, Mountain View Gazette
Where’s the regulator? Alberta Surface Rights Group asks Mountain View County to help address citizen frac concerns by Dan Singleton, July 9, 2013, Mountain View Gazette
Kudos for Alberta’s energy workers by Margaret Hosegood, July 9, 2013, Mountain View Gazette
Where’s the regulator? Resource extraction should be safe by Diana Daunheimer, July 16, 2013, Mountain View Gazette
New CAPP ‘n SPOG Fracking practices getting mixed reviews by Dan Singleton, November 12, 2013