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CAPP guidelines to monitor, respond to earthquakes caused by fracking

New guidelines will encourage members to assess potential for quakes by using existing data and communicating with nearby operators.


CALGARY—The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has issued new guidelines to address the threat of earthquakes caused by fracking, a controversial technique for extracting natural gas from shale.

With fracking, operators inject a combination of water, sand and chemicals into the ground under high pressure to break the rock and free the gas trapped inside.

The industry group’s voluntary operating practices are being posted nearly three months after a study by the BC Oil and Gas Commission found fracking caused a spate of minor earthquakes in northeastern BC between 2009 and 2011.

The guidelines encourage CAPP members to assess the potential for quakes by making use of existing data and communicating with nearby operators.

If it turns out they are active in a quake-prone zone, CAPP says its members should place their wells according to the conditions and have monitoring procedures in place.

Onsite personnel should also be prepared for quakes and be allowed to suspend operations if they suspect or experience unusual conditions.

In addition, CAPP says companies should have a plan in place to respond to fracking-induced earthquakes if they do happen.

©The Canadian Press