Frequently Asked Questions
How hydraulic Fracturing Works >
Yes, the raw data for BC and Alberta are available directly from each regulator's website.
For Alberta, you can access this information through the AER Product and Services Catalogue as a self-serve item. Specifically, it is found within the ‘Wells’ category, with the product name “Hydraulic Fracturing Water Source and Water Use Data”. As the product name implies, there is detailed information on water used for hydraulic fracturing operations, as well as the source(s) of that water; fluid composition information is found within the ‘Hydraulic Fracturing Water Use Data (Annual)’ self-serve file.
The records essentially report the same information and the different jurisdictions share a common interest in protecting water and supporting public access to information. For example, general information regarding location and well ownership information as well as the particulars of the hydraulic fracturing fluids utilized at a well are common. The differences in the reports reflect the variations in data submission requirements, management processes, and retrieval and reporting procedures of the two jurisdictions.
An ingredient or formulation of ingredients that represent a unique or competitive advantage to owner of the intellectual property associated with the ingredient, formulation or use. Various mechanisms are available to protect confidential business information. For hazardous materials, companies wishing to protect their intellectual property may apply to the Hazardous Material Information Review Commission for a claim exemption under the Hazardous Material Information Review Act to deem the ingredient or formulation a trade secret. For non hazardous materials this decision remains with the creator of the ingredient or formulation. Creators may also apply for patents; however many consider this mechanism to not be a practical mechanism to protect confidential business information as disclosure of the ingredient or formulation is necessary. While it may be in the public interest to offer some protection of trade secrets, a basic level of information is captured in all cases and additional information can be required if necessary to support an incident investigation.
The most likely reasons are that either the wells were fractured before January 1, 2012 (British Columbia) or January 1, 2013 (Alberta) or they have not yet been entered into the system. Only wells fractured after those dates will be entered into the system. Furthermore, companies undertaking hydraulic fracturing operations have 30 days from the time their completion operations have finished to submit their records. Initially, records for Alberta wells may take longer than the 30 days noted as licensees develop systems to compile and report the information electronically. Please keep checking back as wells are added on a daily basis
For any ingredient that is subject to a claim for exemption through Hazardous Material Information Review Act, the registry number must be provided in the Comments. Furthermore, the generic name of the ingredient must also be provided, where possible. Otherwise, the ingredient may be listed as ‘Undisclosed’. If the subject of the claim is solely for the chemical identity of one or more ingredients, then the CAS number(s) is/are left blank for each ingredient subject to a claim, but the maximum concentration within the additive is provided, along with the maximum concentration within the fracture fluid for each ingredient. If the subject of the claim is to protect both the chemical identity and the concentration of one or more ingredients, then the CAS number(s) is/are left blank along with the concentration(s) within the additive for each ingredient subject to a claim. If possible, concentration of the ingredient within the fracture fluid can also be provided, but may also be left blank.
Within Canada, any supplier who is required, pursuant to the provisions of the Hazardous Products Act, to disclose the chemical identity or concentration of any ingredient of a controlled product may, if the supplier considers such information to be confidential business information, claim an exemption from the requirement to disclose that information by filing a claim for exemption under the Hazardous Material Information Review Act.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracing”, is the process of creating small cracks, or fractures, in deeply buried geological formations to allow natural gas to flow into the wellbore. The natural gas can then flow to the surface under controlled conditions through the wellhead and be collected for processing and distribution.
During the hydraulic fracturing process, a mixture of water, sand and other chemical additives designed to protect the integrity of the wellbore and enhance production is pumped under high pressure into the formation to create fractures. The fractures are kept open by sand or “proppant”, which provides pathways to allow the natural gas to flow into the wellbore.