Canadian Antis Threaten to “Defend” Against Quebec Utica Drilling

Advocating for anarchy (a doing away of laws and letting the mob rule) is not unique to radical environmentalists in the United States. Such anarchy is alive and well in the Canadian environmental movement too. The Utica Shale, which underlies much of the Marcellus Shale, also underlies part of Canada’s Quebec province. From time to time we highlight news concerning the Utica in Canada. There hasn’t been much news to highlight over the years since Quebec has had a moratorium on fracking since 2012. But as we reported in December 2016, something of a minor miracle happened–the Quebec National Assembly voted to pass Bill 106, ostensibly to support Quebec’s “clean power plan” (see Fracking in Canadian Utica Shale Takes Big Step Closer to Reality). The bill includes a section that “lays out a framework for oil and gas development” in Quebec. Then in September, Quebec did the unthinkable (for radical environmentalists)–they published draft Utica drilling regulations (see Quebec Government Publishes Draft Utica Fracking Regulations). Canadian driller Questerre believes Utica drilling can begin sometime next year (see Questerre Plans 8 Initial Well Pads in Canadian Utica 2018-2019). That news has antis in Canada going berserk. They’re now threatening that “the public will defend itself” if drilling is allowed. What do they mean by that? Sure sounds like a threat to us…
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Questerre Plans 8 Initial Well Pads in Canadian Utica 2018-2019

Although the primary focus of Marcellus Drilling News has always been on Marcellus and Utica Shale gas (and oil) as found in the northeastern U.S., the Utica Shale also underlies part of Canada’s Quebec province. From time to time we highlight news concerning the Utica in Canada. There hasn’t been much news to highlight over the years since Quebec has had a moratorium on fracking at least as long as New York’s moratorium (now at 9 years and 9 months and counting). But as we reported in December 2016, something of a minor miracle happened–the Quebec National Assembly voted to pass Bill 106, ostensibly to support Quebec’s “clean power plan” (see Fracking in Canadian Utica Shale Takes Big Step Closer to Reality). The bill includes a section that “lays out a framework for oil and gas development” in Quebec. Fracking will not begin immediately. The bill does, however, mean that new regulations will come along in 2017 and after that, it’s an almost certainty that fracking will begin. Those draft rules were finally been released in September of this year (see Quebec Government Publishes Draft Utica Fracking Regulations). Questerre Energy, which owns Canadian Utica leases in Quebec and has long lobbied get the government to allow Utica drilling. In Questerre’s recently-released third quarter 2017 update we get an update on their plans to drill in the Canadian Utica. The company says if progress continues with the draft regulations, they have eight well pad sites picked out where they will drill first–in locations that have been oil and gas friendly in the past…
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Questerre Ups Proved Reserves to 5.8 Tcfe in Quebec Utica

Little known fact: There is a Utica Shale layer in Canada–along the St. Lawrence River Valley–in the Province of Quebec. On and off over the years we’ve mentioned it, largely in connection with an ongoing moratorium on shale drilling in Quebec (see our stories here). Quebec’s moratorium is similar to the moratorium on shale drilling in New York State–that is, a total block, but not a permanent block. After debating an environmental bill in December, the Quebec National Assembly voted to pass Bill 106, ostensibly to support Quebec’s “clean power plan.” The bill includes a section that “lays out a framework for oil and gas development” in Quebec. Fracking will not begin immediately. The bill does, however, mean that new regulations will come along early this year and after that, it’s an almost certainty that fracking will begin, in 2017, in the Canadian Utica. The main beneficiary if Questerre Energy Corporation, which owns ~350,000 acres in the Quebec Utica. Of that, Questerre is considering (for now) drilling on 36,000 acres. Given that drilling is likely to begin soon, Questerre recently commissioned an update of their proven reserves in the Quebec Utica. The last time they did so was in 2010. What did the new study find? Questerre is sitting on 5.8 trillion cubic feet equivalent (Tcfe) of oil and gas, representing some 965 million barrels of oil, a 30% increase over the numbers from 2010…
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Questerre Gets $26.5M Loan for Drilling, Still Hopeful for Utica

Canadian driller Questerre Energy has just secured a $26.5 million line of credit with an unidentified Canadian bank which they plan to use for shale drilling operations. One of those operations they dearly want to use it for is drilling in the Canadian Utica Shale–a portion of the Utica which lies under Quebec. If only the Quebec government would just allow it. Like New York State, Quebec has had a moratorium on fracking in the province for a number of years now. At various points Questerre has been critical in chiding the Quebec government (see Questerre Energy Points Out Quebec’s Hypocrisy on Fracking), and more subdued and hopeful in their tone (see Questerre Energy Hopeful Quebec will Lift Fracking Moratorium).

The latest announcement from Questerre once again strikes the more subdued and hopeful tone…
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Questerre Energy Hopeful Quebec will Lift Fracking Moratorium

An ongoing story of interest to MDN is the fracking moratorium in Quebec, Canada. It’s interesting to MDN because part of the Utica Shale underlies Quebec province. As we’ve previously reported, Quebec has a moratorium in place similar to New York State. It seemed for a time like the moratorium would become more or less permanent after statements by representatives of the newly elected government in Quebec, a fact bemoaned by Canadian driller Questerre Energy (see this MDN story).

Questerre issued another press release today on a more encouraging note, pointing out the Premier of Quebec, Pauline Marois, says she will make the final decision about lifting the moratorium and that she’ll use the results of the study under way to make her decision. Questerre takes her comments as a positive sign that science, and not politics, will determine a favorable (pro-fracking) outcome.

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Questerre Energy Points Out Quebec’s Hypocrisy on Fracking

Quebec, Canada currently has a moratorium in place on fracking shale for oil and natural gas, similar to New York State. They were due to consider lifting the ban in 2014 with recommendations from a study on how to proceed with fracking, but those hopes were pretty much destroyed last week when a member of the new “separatist” government in Quebec, Natural Resource Minister Martine Ouellet, said the government will not lift the ban any time soon and added she believes fracking cannot ever be done safely.

Part of the Utica Shale underlies Quebec, which is why this is a story of interest to MDN. Questerre Energy, a large Canadian driller, issued a press release about the Quebec situation, saying continuance of the moratorium will not affect them—but they are disappointed in Ouellet’s position. They also say, in their polite Canadian way, that Quebec is hypocritical because they import a lot of shale gas from Western Canada—gas created using the very same “unsafe” fracking technology:

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Canadian Questerre Energy Says Fracking Causes Tiny Earthquakes

It seems that every month or two someone resurrects a very dead issue: fracking causes earthquakes. MDN has covered the issue extensively over time (just do a quick MDN search on the word earthquake). In a nutshell, the only known instance when the process of fracking a shale gas well has caused an earthquake detectable on the surface was in England, and it was a unique situation where the drilling was shallow and near a geologic fault (see this MDN story).

Canadian energy company Questerre Energy Corporation is working to develop Utica Shale acreage in the St. Lawrence Lowlands area of Quebec province. Must be they’re getting push-back from environmentalists and investors because they’ve just issued what they call a “fact sheet” on the topic of fracking and earthquakes. According to Questerre, fracking does cause earthquakes—but they’re teeny tiny and not detectable on the surface.

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