CALGARY, Alberta, March 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bashaw Oil Corp. (Bashaw) will not be allowed to drill three critical sour oil wells two kilometres east of Rocky Rapids after the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) denied the company’s applications due to public safety concerns.
In December, the AER held a hearing in Drayton Valley to hear Bashaw and parties express concern about the company’s applications. The AER determined that Bashaw’s site-specific emergency response plan was incomplete and that the company did not adequately consult with the public and county on the project. The AER also determined that an additional road is needed in this case to ensure that residents can safely evacuate in an emergency.
Specifically, Bashaw did not
- provide enough information in its site-specific emergency response plan to demonstrate that it can safely evacuate people in the event of an emergency,
- find an alternative to an additional evacuation route, and
- adequately consult with local landowners and Brazeau County to understand how to incorporate their needs into its site-specific emergency response plan.
A critical sour well is a well that could potentially release large quantities of hydrogen sulphide (H2S)—a toxic gas that can harm people and animals. When deciding whether a well should be classified as critical sour, the AER considers
- its distance from an urban centre or public facility,
- the number of people that live in the area, and
- the amount of H2S that could be released.
The Alberta Energy Regulator ensures the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon resources over their entire life cycle. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.