Fracking Blows Up Alberta Oil Well

By B. McPherson

Fracking for natural gas in the fields outside of Innisfail, Alberta, has seen a spectacular result. A pumpjack in a farmer’s field suddenly started spewing a black liquid into the air. Fracking fluid, nitrogen and oil from the well were sprayed onto the field. Crews are attempting to clean up the mess. Chief Executive for the fracking company, Midway Energy, Scott Ratushny was quoted in the Calgary Herald:

Approximately 50 cubic metres of oil, fracturing fluid, nitrogen and sand were spilled on the surface and have been recovered from the site, Ratushny said.” 
"We have drilled over 40 wells in the Cardium in the region without any incidents," Ratushny said. "We've never seen this before."Calgary Herald

Fracking has become a hot environmental issue as the pace of this technology has increased exponentially in the past few years. The search for natural gas – the clean fuel – has corporations fracturing rock formations with explosions and high pressure fluids, the composition of which are often kept secret, to release the natural gas trapped in the rock.

It has been blamed for destruction of aquifers by pollution from the fracking fluid and from the migration of methane and natural gas into the water. Currently Encana is fighting allegations that their operations in Pavillion Wyoming have destroyed the drinking water. Some provinces in Canada(Quebec) and some states in the US have taken measures to place a moratorium on the practise.

The UK is taking measures to stop the practise as well. People there are uneasy about the potential to wreck their water supplies by releasing methane and benzene into it. The secretive nature of the fracking fluid also has many worried about the health implications connected to it.

While there is the potential for wealth to flow into Alberta with the extraction of mineral wealth, many of the corporations poised to benefit have foreign owners such as Sinopec(Chinese gov’t ownership). The incident in which a field has been contaminated by toxic materials and the very real probability of compromising aquifers has many Albertans questioning the benefits of the oil and gas industry there.
The following statement from the Alberta Surface Rights Group is a strongly worded statement:

"“The government appoints so called “regulators” like the ERCB and then allows industry to turn them into little more than yelping lap dogs, willing to do their masters bidding! The ERCB…….which is supposed to “conserve” the resource and ensure it is developed in a sustainable manner, brings in regulations that instead foster a gold rush mentality……….looting the land with only one goal in mind……profits for the boardrooms in Dallas, China, and Korea!
 And to hell with the people who have to live and work here…..they are expendable! Farmers and ranchers are expendable…..workers are expendable….rivers and streams are expendable……fresh water wells and springs are expendable…..the children of Alberta are expendable! Just keep that river of money flowing to the corporate boardrooms!”Alberta Surface Rights Group."

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