Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Old is New Again in the Oil Business (Calgary Herald)

Cochrane rancher concerned about effects of fracking on water supply

By Rebecca Penty, Calgary Herald October 31, 2011

Rancher Gary Tresidder is concerned about the increased use of hydraulic fracturing of horizontal oil wells
 near his property, about 30 kilometres north of Cochrane, where a handful of producers are tapping
 the Cardium formation.

Photograph by: Leah Hennel, Calgary Herald, Calgary Herald

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For 22 years, Gary Tresidder's autumn skyline view of the Rocky Mountains has been marked by trees clutching the last of their golden leaves and hay bales dotting endless farm fields.

This fall, pumpjacks also occupy the bucolic landscape.

More than a dozen units drawing oil to surface have appeared in the last six months in neighbouring fields of Tresidder's ranch off Lochend Road, about 30 kilometres north of the town of Cochrane, where he raises quarter horses.

Companies are drilling deep and wide under the farmland in Rocky View County, recovering light oil previously uneconomic to produce from the country's most prolific rock formation - the Cardium - which has been tapped using vertical wells for decades.

It's a picture growing more common as energy firms reenter old well bores to add horizontal legs, or spud new wells in parts of the province that have seen little development. The industry's new-found ability to drill for thousands of metres horizontally underground and then fracture rock formations in several stages, so oil and gas flows, is a game-changer.

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