Earthquakes occurring frequently near Fort St. John by Energetic City, September 30, 2015
Did you feel that? Maybe not, but there have been small across the Peace recently, noticed by some, or quietly occurring.
In the last week, 15 small earthquakes were recorded northwest of Fort St. John, and 10 have been recorded outside of Dawson Creek, mostly north and northwest.
The biggest one in the past week was a 3.0 magnitude quake recorded 122 km northwest of Fort St. John, on the 26th.
So why all the earthquakes? The connection between earthquakes and fracking has been heavily debated – some say it causes the earthquakes, some say there’s no correlation. [But, industry and government quake experts in Canada are not debating it, they have already proven fracing is causing earthquakes]
According to CBC, a 4.6 magnitude earthquake near Fort St. John last month caused work to stop at a Progress Energy work site. Drilling at natural gas wells has to be halted if seismicity reaches a magnitude of 4.0 and greater.
Alan Clay with the BC Oil and Gas Commission told Energetic City in an e-mailed statement that fracking has been increasing in the area in recent years, but did not confirm if it is causing these smaller quakes.
“Yes, hydraulic fracturing has been happening safely in BC for more than 50 years, with most of the activity in the Northeast region around Fort St. John,” he said.
He said 80% of the new wells having hydraulic fracturing done target the Montney geological formation.
Clay added that British Columbia has strong hydraulic fracturing laws – and that water contamination as a result of fracking has never been reported.
[Refer also to:
2015: Quakes in Gas Fields Ignored for Years, Dutch Safety Agency’s report a relevant read for any fracking zone; Fox Creek frac quakes make AER play deregulation with you and your loved ones: “Red Light = Green Light”
2015: Fracking Quakes Pose Added Risks but Oil and Gas Companies Refuse to Share their Collected Seismic Data. “In low seismic environments like Fox Creek where the natural earthquakes are infrequent, the hazards from an induced seismic event can exceed the hazards from a natural source”
New BC OGC Report: From August 2013 to October 2014 Fracking directly caused 193 earthquakes (11 felt on surface), 38 more caused by waste injection, in Montney basin area surrounding Dawson Creek and Ft St John
Between April 2009 and July 2011, 31 seismic events were recorded and located by NRCan in the Etsho area of the Horn River Basin in northeast British Columbia (Figure 1). Another seven events were recorded near the Tattoo area between Dec. 8 and Dec. 13, 2011. The observed events ranged in magnitude between 2.2 and 3.8 ML on the Richter scale as recorded by NRCan (Table 1). A search of the areas in the National Earthquake Database from 1985 to present shows no detected seismicity in the Horn River Basin prior to 2009.
As hydraulic fracturing fluids are injected into intact gas bearing shales, thousands of micro-seismicity events (approx -3.0 to 0.5 ML) are created as the rock is fractured. These events are caused by micro shear movement and tensile fractures and by the re-opening of existing fractures and faults
Two instances of wellbore deformation along horizontal sections were reported by one operator. These occurred over a short interval beginning at 3,011 m KB (Kelly Bushing) in the d-A1-D/94-O-9 well. In this instance, casing deformation was minor and did not hinder completion operations. At d-1-D/94-O-9, the deformation was encountered at 4,245 m KB and the casing distortion blocked completion efforts at 4,288 m KB. … This deformation was detected in July 2011.
Horn River Basin seismicity events, from 2009 to late 2011, were caused by fluid injection during hydraulic fracturing. All events occurred during or between hydraulic fracturing stage operations. [Emphasis added]