One of the pre-election promises made quietly by senior members of the BC NDP to me and other concerned citizens was to apply best scientific practices in regulating British Columbia’s northeast gas fields.
In another post-election policy reversal, John Horgan’s NDP government decided the only action needed was a little green washing.
Except all the political BS in the world does not change science. The BC Government is charged with inadequate regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. They are focused instead on increasing natural gas production.
The David Suzuki Foundation released Fugitives in our midst: Investigating fugitive emissions from abandoned, suspended and active oil and gas wells in the Montney Basin in northeastern British Columbia.
This week, The Conversation Canada, an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, published an article that covers the same ground.
A tenth of active and abandoned oil and gas wells in northeastern B.C. are leaking, Romain Chesnaux, Professor in environmental engineering (specializing in water resources), Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC), March 2, 2020
One of the issues the oil and gas industry faces is the leakage of gases from wellbores — the holes drilled into the ground to look for or recover oil and natural gas. Methane leakage from wellbores has become an important issue because this greenhouse gas is far more potent than carbon dioxide.
My colleagues and I recently examined a database containing information about 21,525 active and abandoned wells located in the four main shale gas formations of northeastern British Columbia: the Montney, Horn River, Liard and Cordova basins. This represents almost all of the conventional and shale gas wells existing in the region.
Our study was the first to examine the data contained in the British Columbia Oil & Gas Commission Wellbore (OCG) Leakage Database. We found that almost 11 per cent of all oil and gas wells had a reported leak, together releasing 14,000 cubic metres of methane per day. This is more than double the leakage rate of 4.6 per cent in Alberta, which may have less stringent testing and reporting requirements…
Unfortunately, there is no record of the frequency of testing for wellbore leakage in B.C., nor are there requirements to monitor deep aquifers near oil and gas wells for contamination. Although current regulations stipulate that all incidences of leakage must be repaired prior to well abandonment, there is no monitoring program in place for leakage after wells have been permanently plugged, buried and abandoned.
There is also the possibility that the venting gases will contain hydrogen sulphide gas, which is poisonous and deadly at high concentrations…
To this day, very few field investigations have been carried out in B.C. to directly monitor the leakage from abandoned wells. One showed that 35 per cent of investigated abandoned wells exhibit emissions of methane and hydrogen sulphide gas or a combination of both...