The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
News

Another 4.4 Magnitude Industry Reported Quake in Alberta

Chevron shuts down operations following seismic event near Fox Creek.

By Andrew Nikiforuk 16 Jun 2015 | TheTyee.ca

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about the energy industry for two decades and is a contributing editor to The Tyee. Find his previous stories here. This coverage of Canadian national issues is made possible because of generous financial support from our Tyee Builders.

Chevron Canada has confirmed that "a magnitude 4.4 seismic event was recorded by seismic monitoring arrays operated by Chevron Canada and Natural Resources Canada" in the Duvernay shale near Fox Creek, Alberta on Saturday.

It's the second record-breaking industry-reported tremor to hit the region in a year. In January, industry triggered a 4.4 magnitude earthquake in the Duvernay shale. 

That event forced the Alberta Energy Regulator to adopt a "traffic light system" to regulate seismic events in the region. The system requires companies to report events greater than a magnitude of 2.0, and to shut down operations once a 4.0 magnitude event is observed nearby.

As a result of the new regulations, Chevron reported the earthquake to the regulator and shut down operations at a natural gas well pad located approximately 27 kilometres south of Fox Creek.

However, the regulator has given the company permission to finish securing the well before it temporarily suspends operations at the site.

A spokesman for Chevron Canada, Lief Sollid, said the company "was installing production tubing in a well on the pad at the time of the event. Multi-stage hydraulic fracturing operations were completed on the eight-well pad on June 5."

Hydraulic fracturing, the cracking of rock with highly pressurized fluids, can trigger an earthquake days after the event.

Sollid added in an email that "no injuries, property damage or environmental impacts have been reported as a result of the event."

Since 2013, when companies started to fracture the deep shale with one to two-kilometre-long horizontal wells, the region has experienced a wave of tremors.

The Duvernay shale, or what stock promoters have dubbed the "new millennium gold," covers a 56,000 square mile region and contains natural gas liquids. An average horizontal well may cost $15 million to drill.

Chevron is part-owner of the Kitimat LNG project, which will operate as an export facility for unconventional natural gas that has been fracked and extracted from British Columbia's Liard and Horn River basins.

'Prolific' events: study

According to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters, industry drilling in the Duvernay triggered more than 160 earthquakes ("a new sequence of events") near Crooked Lake between 2013 and January 2015, about 30 kilometres west of Fox Creek.

582px version of shalegas610.jpg

The researchers found that the tremors were related to activities at "multiple horizontal wells instead of just one," and that industry had authored the "most prolific and largest magnitude fracking events to date."

The scientists reported that an "unwanted flow of hydraulic fracturing fluid into a preexisting fault system" most likely triggered the events: "Overall, we find that seismicity in the Crooked Lake Sequences is consistent with first-order observations of hydraulic fracturing induced seismicity."

According to a presentation by Dan Walker, a geologist with the BC Oil and Gas Commission, hydraulic fracturing and waste water disposal have triggered more than 1,000 earthquakes in northeastern B.C. ranging in magnitude from 1.0 to 4.3 since 2004. More than 20 events were reported "felt" at the surface.

Industry-made earthquakes are a concern, says Walker, because they can cause property damage, pose a hazard to the public, contaminate groundwater and damage oil and gas wells.

In a 2014 presentation  to the Yukon government, the Fort Nelson First Nation, whose land has been heavily fracked by industry, complained that the technology was poorly regulated and can have "significant adverse impacts on land, water and treaty rights."  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Is One Art or Design Skill You Wish to Learn?

Take this week's poll