Wednesday, July 05, 2017

As Alberta Goes, So Too Does B.C.

Out of sight, out of mind. I expect most British Columbians don't tend to think of our province as a fossil fuel player. By and large we aren't, except for the north east corner where, up by Fort. St. John, likes the Montney shale gas field.

The remote region up in that corner is similar to Alberta. One similarity is the problem of abandoned or even active wells leaking methane.

About 35 per cent of British Columbia’s 25,000 oil and gas wells in the northeastern part of the province are leaking significant amounts of methane, according to a forthcoming new study.

The report will be released later in the summer and submitted to the industry-funded BC Oil and Gas Commission.

Researchers with the David Suzuki Foundation measured leaks from abandoned, suspended, shut-in and active oil wells in the Montney shale gas play near Fort St. John.

According to John Werring, senior science and policy advisor to the foundation, the study found that the average rate of flow of methane gas from surface casing vents from oil wells was conservatively estimated to be between nine and 11 cubic metres per day.

The new study follows research with a mobile sensor mounted on a vehicle that detected large amounts of methane emanating from oil and gas wells in northeastern B.C.

That peer-reviewed study found that methane emissions from B.C.’s shale gas basins are now at least 2.5 times higher than provincial government estimates.
That makes the oil and gas sector the largest source of climate pollution in B.C., a greater source of pollution than commercial transportation.

“The number one reason the industry is not dealing with the problem is the cost. It has nothing to do with the technology,” said Werring.

In jurisdictions such as B.C. and Alberta where the oil and gas industry is not required to post reclamation and clean up bonds, there is no incentive for industry to address these environmental liabilities.

“The problem is getting worse as the wells age, and the clean up of these wells shouldn’t be put on the back of taxpayers,” Werring said.

The good news is that we've got a new government, NDP and everything. The less than good news is that Alberta got one of those NDP governments too and their record of dealing with fossil energy problems isn't very impressive.


John's Aghast said...

A good place to put all those unemployed Site 'C' workers - remediating leaky gas wells. Kudos to Chrispy for gathering together in one place. And to help defray costs they can stay in the Site 'C' Hilton.

The Mound of Sound said...