Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall. (Hansard TV)

Independent panel to review hydraulic fracturing impact in B.C.

Experts will study effects on earthquakes, water and climate change

The B.C. NDP government is proceeding with its promised technical review of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas extraction, as one of the larger players in the global gas market considers going ahead with an export facility in the Kitimat area.

Three geological experts will look at the connections between what is commonly called “fracking” and earthquakes and how the process affects water quality and supply. They will also examine to what extent wells that use the process leak methane, the main component of natural gas, to the atmosphere, where it is a significant greenhouse gas.

“We’re going to be looking at how we extract natural gas here in B.C., making sure that our regulations are strong and that we’re doing things a safe way” said Energy Minister Michelle Mungall.

The review, an NDP campaign promise in the 2017 election, comes as LNG Canada considers a final investment decision on a liquefied natural gas export terminal at Kitimat. LNG Canada CEO Andy Calitz told an investment forum in Vancouver this week that his Shell-led investor group is preparing to begin construction as early as this year.

LNG Canada is a consortium including Shell, PetroChina, Korea Gas and Mitsubishi Corp. of Japan. It is considered a leading proponent to export LNG from northeastern B.C. since the Petronas-led Pacific Northwest LNG dropped its bid for a similar export terminal near Prince Rupert last year.

RELATED: Petronas drops LNG project for northern B.C.

LNG Canada has an agreement with TransCanada Corp. to build a pipeline through the Rocky Mountains from northeastern B.C., where Shell and others have major gas drilling operations in the Montney shale near Dawson Creek and other gas-rich formations.

A three-member panel will be made up of SFU hydrology professor Diana M. Allen, UBC rock mechanics and rock engineering professor Erik Eberhardt, and geological engineer Amanda Bustin. They will consult with academics, industry associations, northeast B.C. communities, Treaty 8 First Nations and environmental groups.

Results of the review are expected by the end of the year.

Just Posted

Tweedsmuir Park wildfires grow to encompass more than 200,000 hectares

Four fires now managed under one as Tweedsmuir Complex, evacation orders and alerts still in place

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

UPDATE: 5 injured in plane crash following Abbotsford International Airshow

One in critical condition in incident involving vintage plane

Social media, digital photography allow millennials to flock to birdwatching

More young people are flocking to birdwatching than ever, aided by social media, digital photography

Vehicle fire on the Coquihalla

Heavy congestion in north bound lanes

Prime minister greeted by B.C. premier as cabinet retreat begins

PM Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan meet in advance of federal cabinet meetings in Nanaimo

Are your kids anxious about going back to school?

BC Children’s Hospital offers tips to help your children be mindful and reduce stress

New trial ordered for James Oler in B.C. child bride case

Meanwhile, appeal court dismisses Emily Blackmore’s appeal of guilty verdict

This trash heap in Vancouver could be yours for $3.9 million

Sitting atop 6,000 square feet, the home was built in 1912, later destroyed by fire

Team Canada’s next game postponed at Little League World Series

They’re back in action on Wednesday against Peurto Rico

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen pleads guilty in hush-money scheme

Said he and Trump arranged payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to influence the election

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort found guilty of eight charges

A mistrial has been declared for the other 10 charges against him

Most Read