Coal Bed Mining in Pictou County, NS

23 06 2014
Pictou County Coal Bed Methane Project: Company Does Not Want to Talk About It

Photo taken last fall when the coal bed methane wells outside Stellarton were being drilled.
Photo taken last fall when the coal bed methane wells outside Stellarton were being drilled.

East Coast Energy Vice President and Project Geologist Arden Thompson has previously spoken freely to the New Glasgow News, but says that all media questions are referred to CEO Julie Cohen. Over the course of more than a month, Cohen has not answered the many messages left for her.

In her absence, and with a tip to Michael Moore’s Roger and Me, the Halifax Media Coop asks it’s questions anyway.

Both East Coast Energy and the Liberal government go to considerable lengths to emphasise that no hydraulic fracturing is allowed in this coal bed methane pilot project. What they do not say is that at the pilot project stage of test wells, hydraulic fracturing does not come into play. Unlike shale gas extraction, coal bed methane extraction does not begin with hydraulic fracturing.

But like shale gas extraction, coal bed methane extraction is only economical with developments of many wells in a small area. At ground level a typical producing coal bed methane field looks the same as a typical shale gas development.

And when in that full scale production, many of the wells must be hydraulically fractured to become or to remain productive. In other words, hydraulic fracturing is both necessary and routine for full scale extraction of the gas.

One of the many times CEO Cohen was happy to speak to media she told the Herald in an interview since not returning calls from the Media Coop that The next step would be to conclude if I’m going to be able to sell the gas from that well and also put together a further development plan, which is … to drill more wells to have more production.” Cohen went on to elaborate that next step as a further 3 to 5 wells.

The question put in CEO Cohen’s absence: what is the business plan for development of coal bed methane production with hydraulic fracturing not being allowed in Nova Scotia?

Does Cohen just tell investors putting up millions to the small company that they will ‘cross that bridge when they get there?’

Or is the company confident that when the time comes to announce they are ready to proceed with a full scale project, they expect that hydraulic fracturing will be allowed, at least for coal bed methane extraction? And if East Coast does expect this outcome, on what is that expectation based?

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