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AER Bulletin 2019-07: Recommendations around Hydraulic Fracturing in the Red Deer Area

Link to decision summarized

Earthquake – Hydraulic Fracturing

In this bulletin, the AER reported that on March 4, 2019, an earthquake measuring 4.1 local magnitude was detected approximately 12 kilometres south of Sylvan Lake, Alberta. No injuries were reported, nor were there any reported impacts to the environment or public health.

The AER indicated this event was a reminder of the need for oil and gas operators to manage sites in a way that prevents and minimizes induced seismicity. The AER recommended that oil and gas operators working within the Duvernay Formation in the Red Deer Region take the following steps to reduce the possibility of triggered seismicity associated with hydraulic fracturing:

(a) Before conducting hydraulic fracturing operations in this area, operators should assess the potential for induced seismicity, develop a seismic response plan to respond to any induced seismicity that may occur, and monitor local seismic activity around their operations.

(b) If a seismic event of 1.0 ML or greater occurs within five kilometres of an active well, the licensee should implement its seismic response plan to eliminate or reduce the magnitude of subsequent seismic events. The licensee should immediately report the event to the AER’s Energy/Environmental Emergency and Operational Complaint Line (1-800-222-6514).

(c) If the event is 3.0 ML or greater, the licensee should immediately suspend hydraulic fracturing operations at the affected well, return it to a safe state and get in contact with the AER immediately.

Pending the result of the investigation into the recent seismic event, the AER may introduce new enforceable requirements for hydraulic fracturing operations in the Red Deer Region.

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