By Dina O'Meara,
January 16, 2012 8:06 PM
Oil sprayed on farmer’s land near Innisfail
Friday afternoon, a landowner in the Garrington area west of Innisfail spotted a pumpjack spewing what appeared to be oil and chemicals onto his neighbour’s field.
Black fluid from the well sprayed 15 metres in the air until the man was able to alert a hydraulic fracturing crew working on a nearby well for Midway Energy. They halted operations at the site then shut down the Wild Stream Exploration pumpjack.
The Energy Resource Conservation Board was alerted around 5:30 p.m. Friday by the Alberta Surface Rights Group on the behest of the landowner.
“We don’t know the details yet ... but my understanding is that it appears the fracturing process affected the other well,” said board spokeswoman Cara Tobin, Monday.
The incident could have repercussions around North America as the industry grapples with rising public discontent over rapidly increasing use of the technology to unlock shale gas and oil reserves.
Fluids blasted deep into the earth under high pressure appear to have intersected underground with the second well, forcing oil up through the well bore at explosive rates.
“We’re still not quite sure what happened,” said Scott Ratushny, Midway Energy chief executive. “We’re still investigating it, but something allowed the frack to carry into the same zone, 130 to 140 metres away (underground),”