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Union Gas responds to fracking claims

By Steve Baker, President, Union Gas Limited

It is regrettable that your article “Don’t Frack Chatham-Kent” presents such an extreme and alarmist view of natural gas extraction from shale formations. What is also regrettable is that the author did not even attempt to contact Union Gas, a company that just celebrated 100 years of existence in our community and is well known for its community support and environmental stewardship. We would be happy to discuss natural gas extraction from shale formations with the author and present the facts  around this process.

As a company who deals daily in the natural gas market, I can assure you that we are not aware of plans by any company to extract natural gas from shale formations within our community. Furthermore, the assertions made by the article with respect to the extreme and damaging environmental impacts of natural gas extraction from shale formations are simply not true.

The process of hydraulic fracturing has been used safely for decades, a fact that is supported by numerous independent studies. Those studies include one by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has found the extraction process to be non-threatening to the environment, our ecosystems and public health.

While some people have been able to “light their water with fire” as suggested by the author, these same people were able to light their water with fire long before any shale formation extraction took place. Naturally occurring methane is widely found in ground water wells, a fact that some farmers in Chatham-Kent have experienced for years.

The assertion that natural gas extraction from shale has contaminated many water wells is also unfounded. Drilling through water aquifers is a practice that has been safely used for a decades. The process used to case and cement natural gas wells is  well established and the extraction process does not differ from the process that has been used for decades in conventional oil and gas development. Additionally, shale formations are significantly deeper than water aquifers. In most cases, the shale formations are over one kilometre below water aquifers which creates a barrier between natural gas deposits and fresh water aquifers.

A valid area of concern has been a lack of full disclosure of the small amount of chemicals contained in the fluids used during the extraction process. Industry best practices have since emerged requiring full disclosure of all chemicals and fluids. This disclosure shows that over 99.5% of the fluid used is water and sand, with the remaining 0.5% containing chemicals commonly found “under the sink”.

Natural gas is not only one of the safest and most environmentally preferred resources to extract and produce, the economic benefits of shale gas are enormous.

North American natural gas prices have fallen significantly in recent years due to large increases in the domestic supply of natural gas from shale formations. This has  resulted in billions of dollars in savings for Ontario and Canadian consumers and represents a significant economic stimulus during otherwise difficult economic times.

From an environmental perspective, natural gas has significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than other fossil fuels. Further, natural gas can be stored underground and used to compliment and back up intermittent renewable power.

These are the facts. Alarmist messaging and fear mongering will do little to help Canada bring forward positive energy solutions.

5 Responses to Union Gas responds to fracking claims

  1. Andrew Hastings Reply

    March 2, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    hahahaahaha What a joke!!!!!!! My favorite quote from his response “with the remaining 0.5% containing chemicals commonly found “under the sink”. Im just totally confused at how using these types of chemicals in any area where it could seep into ground water is not that big of a deal and some how “alarmist”. Such a typical response from a terrible industry. I wish these types of companies would stop using the word “independent” as well. You’ve bought the EPA with lobby money and I would love for you to send me any of these “independent” studies so I can do 15 minutes of research and proof that you guys are liars.

  2. Andrew Hastings Reply

    March 2, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    “Fracking has been in use in Canada at an industrial level since the 1990s. Concerns about fracking began in late July 2011, when the Government of British Columbia gave Talisman Energy a long-term water licence to draw water from the BC Hydro-owned Williston Lake reservoir, for a twenty year term. Fracking has also received criticism in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and the Nova Scotia government is currently reviewing the practice, with recommendations expected in March 2012. The practice has been temporarily suspended, in Quebec, pending an environmental review. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has also expressed concern.[123]“-Wiki

  3. Andrew Hastings Reply

    March 2, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Just wondering too if they use tracking isotopes in their process as well. New york times did a pretty good story on that one. Maybe they are liars as well!! Just wondering if I can find radioactive materiel as well under my kitchen sink. This is a sad joke from a guy whos probably pretty smart. In my opinion lies like this are 1000 times worse then any drug dealer in Chatham Kent.

  4. joanne lefebvre Reply

    March 3, 2021 at 6:15 am

    We are alarmed Mr. Baker and there is a reason I did not talk to Union gas about this process. You are the people that want to frack Chatham kent. Are you going to admit the dangers to water, soil and air openly before you start this process. I dont think you would have been around 100 years if you actually disclosed the dangers to land owners from this process. THE EDVIDENCE IS ALL OVER THE INTERNET about what landowners are left dealing with after their property has been fracked. Perhaps you will be the first one to drink that water after the hundreds of VERY toxic chemicals are pumped into our earth but something tells me it’s above your pay grade. MY ARTICLE WAS TO IMFORM Chatham Kent citizens and to open up the dioloque and discussion. It is up to individual citizens to do their own research and form their own opinions about this process and whether they want this in their community. We are thankful for your response Mr. Baker but there is far too much evidence that supports our community and province to take a hard long look at what we are letting oil and gas companies do for the sakeof profits.
    A web site will be up shortly with information for Chatham kent citizens to access to form their own opinions. Forgive me for not buying what your trying to sell, something just doesn’t smell right and we are tired of getting fracked by government and the big oil and gas companies. IT IS OUR EARTH AND ENVIROMENT TO PROTECT Iam only a concerned citizen ,tax payer and mother and will do what I have to to protect THE FUTURE OF OUR ENVIORMENT FOR OUR KIDS.FYI under my kitchen cabinet I do not store or use the chemicals you boys are playing, with would you like a list published with what has been found left in water after the fracking is done. I will make sure this is on the web site for you along with the petition to stop fracking in Chatham kent Ontario

  5. Kim ILES Reply

    March 6, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    OK… I went back to read the original Toronto Star article….does anyone else read into this…that it is a “competitor “to Union Gas…that has moved into our back yard. Hmmmmmmm! I think the plot is very different….any way…read this..from the article.

    REPRINT….Consider it a rebirth. Calgary-based Mooncor Oil & Gas Corp. wants to develop a resource in Ontario that has been largely overlooked by its rivals: shale gas.

    As the rest of the industry rushes to develop shale-gas projects in the prolific Marcellus shale deposits of the U.S. northeast and the Utica shales of Quebec, Mooncor is gaining a solid foothold in Ontario.

    It has already locked up nearly 23,000 acres (9.30776 hecatres) of land in Lambton and Kent counties and is preparing to spin off a separate company called DRGN Resources that will focus its efforts on both conventional and unconventional gas drilling.

    So……we really need to stay on top of this I think. God knows…4 years ago..we were told there could ONLY be 250 max…turbines….now look at us !

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