Oil and Gas Sector Has Plans For Albert County, NB

12 08 2014

The oil and gas sector has its eyes on Albert County.

The oil and gas sector has its eyes on another piece of New Brunswick, this time in the Salem area of Albert County. Here, Contact Exploration Incorporated holds the oil and gas rights to more than 14,000 ha of land. Although drilling will be required to confirm the presence of a petroleum hydrocarbon reservoir, surface seismic exploration has already identified prospective natural gas and oil bearing zones located within the Frederick and Hiram Brook members of the Albert Formation. Results described as ‘encouraging’ have also been discovered in a variety of other locations including (but not limited to) the Moncton Sub Basin.

This project will explore for both oil and natural gas and if successful will result in additional wells and the construction of a pipeline. Once the initial wells have been drilled there will only be a few full time positions available. There is the ‘potential’ for 30-50 additional jobs should larger operations be put in place. The proposal does not specify if these jobs are full or part time–potentially a deliberate omission.

The pad sites will be located approximately 5-7km of west Hillsborough in ‘undeveloped’ rural areas within Salem. Well site J-86 will be situated on property north of Route 910, 5km west of Hillsborough, and the L-85 well site (also north of Route 910) 7km west of Hillsborough.

While this project boasts of meeting or exceeding suggested setbacks for well heads and well pad sites, you have to ask yourself if these distances are adequate. Although I have included the entire chart below, here are several questionable examples: 1) 30m from a watercourse or regulated wetland, 2) 100m from a provincially significant wetland, 3) 250m from a dwelling, 4) 250m from a playground, fairground or campground, 5) 500m from an elementary school. Who decided that these distances provide adequate protection for people, wildlife or the environment? I have included several studies that are available for download at the bottom of this page.

There have been attempts to locate all residential potable wells surrounding the proposed oil and gas sites using the NBDELG Domestic Water Well Database however it is likely that this data is incomplete, especially with regards to older wells. The NBDELG recently developed an Online Well Log System (OWLS) to make ‘Well Logs’ more accessible however this too has had limitations. Through the NBDELG OWLS private wells were found within 1.2km of the J-86 site and 1.5km from L-85. If you require more information with regards to residential potable wells please refer to pages 38-43 in the full document (available below).

Drilling depths are expected to reach between 2,500m to 3,400m and water is the main constituent of drilling fluid, also referred to as mud (industry lingo). Water will be sourced from local watercourses and used at a rate not exceeding 45 litres per minute. Each well will require between 200-300m³ of water. After this process the water will be contaminated and will require treatment and appropriate disposal–unlike what is currently being proposed in Dieppe. For more information regarding the Dieppe proposal click [HERE].

Drill cuttings will remain on site in large steel bins (each bin has a 150 tonne capacity) for up to four weeks while a laboratory analysis is completed. Cuttings may contain radioactive material and if improperly disposed may pose threats to people and the environment. One example that comes to mind is West Virginia where radioactive cuttings are likely being deposited into landfill sites. Even though this low-level radioactive material is naturally occurring, when concentrated in large quantities it can pose serious health threats over an extended period of time. One of the elements in cuttings has a half life of 1,500 years.

There are rare flora and fauna within the surrounding areas (pages 46-47) as are a number of threatened species of birds, which include the endangered Bald Eagle, rare species of bats and other mammals (pages 47-50). However since it is my experience that most people show little interest in plants and animals I will not go into further detail.

There is a summary of environmental impacts available on pages 55-62.

There have only been four public meetings since 2005. Detailed information on pages 63-67.

Links to reference material and data available on pages 69-74.

 

You can download and read the full 202 page document [HERE].

If you live in Hillsborough or the surrounding areas I strongly suggest you take the time to read this entire report. You may also want to have your well water tested in advance of the oil and gas wells being drilled. In the event your water becomes contaminated with methane or other chemicals used during the hydraulic fracturing process, you will be able to counter claims by the industry that your water was contaminated prior to their operations.

SOURCES AND OTHER FRACKING RELATED ARTICLES
Fracking flowback to be dumped into Dieppe sewer system. August 9, 2014 [ARTICLE].
Radioactive cuttings may be going into West Virginia landfills. August 4, 2014 [ARTICLE].

HEALTH STUDIES RELATED TO FRACKING OPERATIONS
2014 Report on fracking in Canada. Download the entire 292 page PDF [HERE].
2014 Report on birth outcomes/maternal residential proximity to gas sites. Download [HERE].
2010 Report on fracking exposure in Dish, Texas. Download the full report [HERE].

Additional information on fracking is available [HERE].

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