QOGA: Our new president, Mr. Lucien Bouchard, takes office


We warmly welcome Mr. Lucien Bouchard, who became the new president of the Quebec Oil and Gas Association on February 21.

He has granted a number of interviews in order to share his views on shale gas and the direction in which he hopes to steer our organization.

Watch his interview with Anne-Marie Dussault on 24 heures en 60 minutes on RDI.

Read his interview with Yves Boisvert in La Presse.

Tests indicate that fracking water taken from a shale gas well is easy to treat


In a February 19 article in Le Soleil, Jean-François Cliche reports on tests carried out by the City of Trois-Rivières on fracking water from a shale gas well owned by gas company Talisman near Fortierville. The results indicate that the water “was not particularly difficult to treat.”

The tests, which involved some 30 parameters, were carried out in January. According to the article, as is often done to test water toxicity, trout and daphnia were placed for 10 days in untreated fracking water taken from one of 22 cisterns containing fracking water. The trout, which are known to be highly sensitive to pollution, survived, but the daphnia did not. The water processing technician from the City of Trois-Rivières stated that he didn’t know what exactly affected the daphnia more than the trout, but that the matter had to be looked into.

Cliche also reports that even before treatment, the levels of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol found in the fracking water tested in Trois-Rivières met the standards for disposal into the environment. With regard to sulfates, nitrites/nitrates, benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, and barium, it even met the standards for potable water.”

The concentrations of oil and grease were high, however. Yet, as Cliche’s report points out, although the water contained a lot of grease, it was obviously clean enough, even before treatment, for trout to survive in it.

Cliche also posted an article on his blog providing further information on the subject. The blog follows scientific news and issues.

Shale Gas: “Yes” in B.C., “Yes” in New Brunswick. Why “No” in Quebec?


In a February 22 open letter posted on Cyberpresse.ca, Gerry Angevine, Senior Economist at the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Energy Studies, argues that shale gas development and mining can be carried out safely and responsibly in a manner that respects the environment.

Angevine adds that shale gas mining has been accepted by governments and communities elsewhere in North America, including in Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas. He urges Quebec not to declare a moratorium, but rather to take immediate action by adopting regulations that protect the environment and ensure property owners receive fair royalties for giving oil and gas companies access to their land.

He also points out that New Brunswick is going forward with the development of its own shale gas deposits according to detailed regulations established at the outset that protect the environment. The government of that province monitors shale gas extraction using a detailed plan, strict regulations, and monitoring mechanisms.

The full article describes the New Brunswick plan and the steps involved in its development.

Lucien Bouchard new President of the Quebec Oil and Gas Association


The Quebec Oil and Gas Association (QOGA) is proud to announce the appointment of former Québec Premier Lucien Bouchard as Chairman of its Board of Directors.

The members of the QOGA Board formalized this recommendation in a meeting this morning. Québec Premier from 1996 to 2001, Lucien Bouchard was also federal Minister of the Environment before becoming Head of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons.

Lucien Bouchard’s appointment will be effective next February 21, when the next QOGA members’ general assembly is scheduled. He is replacing André Caillé, whose mandate has come to term but who will continue to serve as president in the interim. André Caillé will remain a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. The Quebec Oil and Gas Association is grateful for André Caillé’s outstanding service during his mandate.

“I am proud of the work we have accomplished over the past months in driving forward this new development opportunity for Québec. My goal has always been to work in Québec’s best interests. Knowing the work that remains ahead, I am glad to see a man of Lucien Bouchard’s calibre pick up the mantle. I know that he will be able to rally Quebecers around this wealth-creating project,” stated outgoing QOGA President André Caillé.

In Lucien Bouchard’s words: “I view the discovery of major natural gas deposits in Québec as a highly important opportunity for our economic development and the financing of our State’s missions. At the same time, I’m fully aware of the need to proceed with this development, faithfully observing exemplary requirements from the points of view of the environment, public safety, social acceptability and transparency, seeing to it as well it that this development truly build our collective, and not just private-interest, wealth. I shall diligently schedule intensive meetings with the members of the Board of Directors to work out the responsible approach they are committed to follow, in particular with regard to the recommendations to come from the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement. I therefore intend to fulfil my mandate by balancing the concerns and issues of all interested parties, but above all with the assurance that I shall work in the best interests of our society as a whole.”

The Quebec Oil and Gas Association, established in April 2009, aims to continue the development of an industry in Quebec that will be able to produce significant economic benefits for the regions. The QOGA presents and promotes the interests of a responsible and active industry to contribute to energy diversification in Quebec, with respect to the environment and communities. Its members’ mission is to work on the development of Quebec’s energy resources while promoting economic development in Quebec.

Shale gas: According to The Financial Post it’s Uncle Sam’s saviour. And what about Quebec?


An article published by The Financial Post on January 13th 2011 outlines the remarkable benefits the United States could gain through an increase of that country’s production of shale gas:

  • reduced dependency on foreign gas imports
  • deficit reduction
  • reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Christopher Swann, journalist for the Reuters news agency and author of this article published by The Financial Post states that shale gas is a veritable lifesaver and lists the advantages the country of Uncle Sam could gain from increased local production and use of the resource. He compares reserves in the U.S. to Iran’s oil potential. Swann asks why the United States shouldn’t profit from the wealth it’s literally sitting on:

“America’s natural gas bonanza is too good an opportunity to miss. The new Congress needs to embrace the bounty beneath its feet.”

We’re reminded of the situation here in Quebec, a province that also possesses huge shale gas potential. The local development of this resource would bring the same kind of irrefutable benefits to both the United States and Quebec. Consult the Advantages for Quebec section of our website to learn more.

Christopher  Swann is an economic columnist specialising in the energy sector. He has worked for The Financial Times and Bloomberg.

We invite you to consult Christopher Swann’s full article on The Financial Post website.

You can read other articles by the same author below:

N. America’s gas drilling frenzy won’t end in 2011

U.S. Nuclear hopes choked by low emission costs

Information on reports on minor natural gas emanations


Media reports have recently commented on some minor natural gas emanations that have been observed during regulatory inspections.  We wish to confirm that wells are regularly monitored by the companies that operate them, as well as by government regulators.  QOGA members always test the equipment they install in these wells, in particular the casing that protects the water table.

In natural gas development, there is a limited potential for gas or liquid to flow up to the surface of a well. This is known in the industry as surface casing vent flows (SCVF) and gas migration (GM). The primary concern with these types of gas flows is safety.  In this regard, it is important to be aware that at no time was there any danger to the public or workers as a result of these flows.

Identifying and managing SCVF and GM flows is a well-established and regulated practice in the industry.  Wellheads are equipped with a surface casing vent which allows natural gas to be released safely to the atmosphere and monitored by the operator.  Surface casing vent flows are tested prior to the initial completion of the well and routinely throughout the life of the well. If a SCVF is identified, it is reported to the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune and further investigation is conducted.  Flows are categorized and appropriate corrective actions are determined in consultation with the regulator and in accordance with standard industry practices.  In most cases, the risk is so low that only monitoring is required, immediate repair is not necessary and corrective action is deferred until well abandonment.  This is consistent with all gas producing jurisdictions in North America.

It is important to recognize, that the presence of natural gas at surface is not necessarily an indication of SCVF or Gas Migration.  In Quebec and in other jurisdictions, it is not unusual for natural gas to be naturally present in shallow soils and aquifers. Natural gas is often found in water wells, independent of oil and gas activities.  In some cases, this gas can flow to surface using the well as a pathway.

Protecting the population, workers, and the environment is a very important concern for our industry. That is why we work under strong safety standards. No industry is risk free. However, the risks in the natural gas industry are very well known, as are the solutions and protective safety and environmental measures to address these risks.  Regulatory standards for these issues and others are in place in many other areas.

What causes SCVF or gas migration?

Identifying and managing SCVF and GM flows is a well-established practice in the industry.  It can occur when there is an incomplete seal between the steel casing and the cement or the cement and the surrounding formation. This can create a pathway for gas to flow to the surface.  While venting does release gas safely to the atmosphere, the GHG emission from these flows is not significant and is well understood in all regulated and mature gas producing regions.

Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) commissioners are currently drafting their report which will lead to enhancing the current regulatory framework for Quebec’s shale gas industry. The BAPE will make recommendations to the government by the end of February.  We look forward to a strong safety and regulatory framework that will govern our industry, which, it should be noted, will still be in the exploration phase for a few more years.

"Shale gas water easier to treat than sewage": technical director of Trois-Rivières water plant


In this recent interview with Le Nouvelliste, Steve Hamel, technical director of the Trois-Rivières municipal water plant, says that the fracking water is much easier to treat than municipal sewage water and contains less chemicals than regular sewage water. The solid waste on the bottom of the waste treatment lagoons in Trois-Rivières is certified by the environment ministry for agricultural use as fertilizer. Even if the city has been treating fracking water for the past two years, the The Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP) maintains its certification. We see this as yet another indication that fracking water is not as toxic as opponents say.

The full Le Nouvelliste December 7th article is available online.

Shale gas development has the support of Trois-Rivières mayor Yves Levesque


As Mayor of Trois-Rivières, Yves Levesque doesn’t mince words when he says that he supports shale gas development in his municipality. In a recent interview with Le Nouvelliste, Mayor Levesque says that he sees shale gas as an economic boon for the city, imagining what his council could do for Trois-Rivière citizens with the millions of dollars which could potentially roll in through the activities of QOGA members like Talisman. Talisman recently paid the city $192 000 for a 30-day exploration exercise.

Mayor Levesque made these statements in an interview with Le Nouvelliste published on December 8th. The full Le Nouvelliste article is available online.

BAPE: QOGA has submitted its brief outlining the advantages of shale gas development


The BAPE hearings continued last week with the presentation of briefs by the industry, by municipalities, by scientific experts and by community groups. QOGA and its members were on hand to speak to the advantages of shale gas development in Quebec. Our goal at these hearings was to show that shale gas development in Quebec is not only sound from an economic point of view, but from an environmental and public security point of view as well.

We’d invite you to consult our QOGA brief available online and through our links page.

The report which will be produced by the BAPE within 4 months of the hearings will inform the Minister’s recommendation to Cabinet, who will decide whether or not to authorize shale gas exploration in the province. Once that is done, we’re hoping to be able to continue our testing in order to confirm the feasibility of shale gas development in Quebec. We respect and understand the importance of the BAPE hearings, and look forward to its report.