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AER Bulletin 2019-34- New Subsurface Order Institutes New Monitoring, Setback, and Response Requirements

Today (December 9th, 2019) we released Subsurface Order No. 7 (attached) which establishes new monitoring, reporting, and setback requirements to manage the potential hazard of induced seismicity from hydraulic fracturing in the Red Deer region.

The order prohibits hydraulic fracturing operations within five kilometres of the Dickson dam infrastructure if operations are targeting the Duvernay Formation or below.

The order also establishes a mandatory traffic light protocol for hydraulic fracturing operations targeting formations above the Duvernay within the five-kilometre exclusion zone around the Dickson dam and for operations that are targeting the Duvernay Formation or below it within the broader Red Deer region.  Under the traffic light protocol, licensees must implement seismic monitoring and response procedures to manage the hazard of induced seismicity before, during, and after any hydraulic fracturing activity. Any seismic events of 1.0 ML or greater within 5 kilometres of the hydraulically fractured well must be reported and mitigated (yellow light infraction). If an event 3.0 ML or greater is detected (red light infraction), the fracturing operations at the well must cease until authorized by the AER to restart.  Licensees are also required to share real-time seismic data with the AER.

We will continue to evaluate the risk of induced seismicity in the Red Deer region to ensure that the Dickson dam setback distances are protective of Albertans. The order may be updated in the future based on scientific evidence regarding the potential hazard.

For more information, contact our Customer Contact Centre by phone at 403-297-8311 (1-855-297-8311 toll free) or by email at inquiries@aer.ca.