Federal scientist has proof: fracking by Petronas-owned company caused a big B.C. earthquake

Erin Ellis | National Observer | April 12 2017

The largest earthquake yet detected in British Columbia’s northeastern shale gas region was conclusively caused by fracking from Progress Energy Inc. in August 2015, says a federal scientist whose study was published this month.

Honn Kao, a research scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada, says it’s now clear that the 4.6 magnitude quake, which was felt at the surface near the resource town of Fort St. John, was the direct result of liquids being pumped into underground rock formations under high pressure to extract natural gas.

“It confirms what we’ve learned so far, that the majority of earthquakes induced in northeastern British Columbia appear to be related to hydraulic fracturing operations rather than other injection operations,” Kao said in a telephone interview from his office in Sidney, B.C., near Victoria.

Progress Energy of Calgary is owned by Petronas, the national oil company of Malaysia which has floated plans to build a liquified natural gas processing plant on B.C.’s coast near Prince Rupert. The source of the gas would be the Montney shale gas area where hundreds of small seismic events have been detected by monitoring stations since fracking began in the area in the mid-1980s. The company hasn’t made a final decision on whether to proceed with the project to ship liquified gas to Asian markets.

Support for proposals to build LNG facilities have been a key component of the federal and provincial governments' economic policies and the issue could land in the middle of B.C.'s May 9 election.


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