Governments regulate shale gas, industry promotes operating practices

June 11, 2012 - Calgary, Alberta

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers responded today to comments about natural gas hydraulic fracturing attributed to federal opposition leader Thomas Mulcair.

"In late January, CAPP announced new Canada-wide hydraulic fracturing operating practices designed to improve water management and water and fluids reporting for shale gas and tight gas development across Canada," said CAPP President Dave Collyer. "CAPP members developed the hydraulic fracturing practices voluntarily and are expected to adhere."

The natural gas industry is regulated primarily by jurisdictions that own the resources - provincial governments in the case of hydraulic fracturing - and to some extent also by the federal government on navigable water, air, wildlife and greenhouse gas emissions. The industry's hydraulic fracturing operating practices were developed to inform and complement regulations, not as a substitute for regulatory oversight.

Continuous environmental performance improvement is a goal of the natural gas industry and is the expectation of most Canadians.

Disclosure of fluids used in hydraulic fracturing has been made mandatory by regulators in British Columbia. In Alberta, companies are required to disclose fluids to the provincial regulator and public disclosure is expected to be mandatory later this year. The New Brunswick government recently announced plans to require disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids. It is within the remit of other provincial governments to enact similar regulation as they see fit.

Work on regulation is typically informed by credible third parties such as trade associations and organizations such as the International Energy Agency, which recently positively cited the Canadian industry's operating practices, indicating the CAPP work covers many of the issues the IEA addresses in its "Golden Rules."

"Shale gas can and is produced responsibly every day across Canada and the United States with more than 175,000 wells fractured safely in Western Canada over the last 60 years. Our operating practices demonstrate the Canadian natural gas industry's continued efforts to ensure responsible resource development," Collyer said.

The industry's hydraulic fracturing principles and practices are available here.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. CAPP's member companies produce more than 90 per cent of Canada's natural gas and crude oil. CAPP's associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream crude oil and natural gas industry. Together CAPP's members and associate members are an important part of a national industry with revenues of about $100 billion-a-year. CAPP's mission is to enhance the economic sustainability of the Canadian upstream petroleum industry in a safe and environmentally and socially responsible manner, through constructive engagement and communication with governments, the public and stakeholders in the communities in which we operate.

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