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OGC issues new requirements for fracking operators near Farmington

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The BC Oil and Gas Commission has issued a Special Project Order requiring permit holders of any well in the Kiskatinaw Seismic Monitoring and Mitigation Area to undertake a number of precautions before initiating hydraulic fracturing operations in the area.

OGC spokesperson Phil Rygg says that operators will be required to submit a seismic monitoring and mitigation plan with any notice of operation that includes fracking. The plan must include a pre-assessment of seismic hazard, as well as a seismic monitoring and mitigation outline. Operators must also give the OGC between 24 and 72 hours’ notice before fracking operations begin on a common drilling pad.

During hydraulic fracturing operations, the permit holder will need to deploy an accelerometer within three kilometres of the drilling pad and to have access to a seismic array that provides real-time seismicity readings. Those readings would need to be immediately provided to the OGC upon request.

Rygg said that if a well is identified by the permit holder or the Commission as being responsible for a seismic event with a magnitude of 3.0 or greater, the well permit holder must immediately suspend fracturing operations. Those operations will not be able to continue without the written consent of the Commission. 

The minimum level at which the well permit holder must take action and initiate their mitigation plan is if a magnitude 2.0 event occurs. The permit holder must also communicate all magnitude 1.5 and greater events to the OGC immediately. If a common drilling pad is identified as being responsible for a cluster of seismic events, the Commission may require the suspension of fracturing activities.

The Order comes less than a month after seismologists confirmed a number of earthquakes that were likely caused by human activity occurred in the Peace. One of those occurred near Farmington.

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