Fracking well linked to Monday earthquake suspended

Alberta Energy Regulator order Vesta Energy Ltd. to suspend those operations

The Alberta Energy Regulator has ordered a company to suspend fracking operations at a well site linked to an earthquake that was felt in the communities of Red Deer and Sylvan Lake.

Natural Resources Canada says the 4.6 magnitude earthquake occurred in central Alberta around 5:55 a.m. on Monday.

READ MORE: Monday’s 4.6-magniture earthquake largest Central Alberta has experienced

The regulator says Vesta Energy Ltd. must suspend hydraulic fracturing operations at the site.

It says Calgary-based company must submit a report of all seismic activity in the area since April and specific fracturing data for the well site from Jan. 29 to Monday.

The regulator has also ordered Vesta to file a plan to eliminate or reduce future seismic activity from fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing involves pumping chemicals and sand underground to break up rocks to help get oil and natural gas flowing.

“A Vesta representative contacted the AER through the 24-hour emergency response number at 06:20 a.m. on March 4, 2019, and informed the AER that seismic activity of magnitude 4.32 was detected due to Vesta’s fracturing at the site, and that Vesta had shut down the fracturing operation,” the regulator said in a release Tuesday.

“All operations at the site are suspended immediately unless otherwise directed in writing by the director.”

There were no immediate reports of damage but the community of Sylvan Lake said the power went out in most of the town Monday morning.

Natural Resources Canada’s website says the tremor was classified as a light earthquake.

The Canadian Press

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