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

Sailings filling up on Northern Sea Wolf

There is a strong demand for the service

New ownership group presents Mount Timothy Resort plans

‘More activity and more people on the hill means more fun’

Thunderstorms in forecast for much of Cariboo Chilcotin

Special weather statements, concerns of flash flooding, for southern B.C. regions

Two Nuxalk artists awarded YVR Art Foundation scholarships

Several Nuxalk artists have won the award, some more than once

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read