AER lays charges against Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure Ltd.
October 21, 2021… The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has laid charges against Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure Ltd. for a release of acidic water that flowed into a nearby creek. The release occurred in October 2019 at Tidewater’s Ram River sour gas processing plant near Rocky Mountain House.
The 10 charges, which fall under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, are related to
- releasing a substance to the environment that caused or may have caused an adverse effect (section 109(2));
- failing to report the release of the substance as soon as possible (section 110(1));
- failing to take all reasonable measures to repair, remedy, and confine the effects of the substance (section 112(1)(a)); and
- contravening approval conditions (section 227(e)).
Tidewater’s first court appearance will be on December 8, 2021 in Rocky Mountain House. To ensure Tidewater’s right to a fair prosecution, the AER cannot release any further details.
The AER ensures the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of hydrocarbon resources over their entire life cycle. This includes allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.
(Source: Star Tribune) Enbridge has failed to meet the Oct. 15 deadline for cleaning up the site of an aquifer ruptured during construction of its controversial Line 3 oil pipeline, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reported Friday.
Meanwhile, the DNR is investigating two other sites where the company may have caused additional groundwater damage, the agency said in a statement. The agency did not specify the location of the other sites.
State regulators will require compensation for the additional loss of groundwater during the increased time it takes to complete the work to stop the groundwater flow, the DNR said. And Enbridge also will be held accountable for any additional violations.
While working on the pipeline in January, crews from the Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge dug too deeply into the ground and punctured an artesian aquifer near Clearbrook, Minn. The damage caused the aquifer to leak at least 24 million gallons of groundwater, threatening to dry out a nearby rare and delicate wetland area called a calcareous fen.
The DNR learned about the leak in June after independent construction monitors observed water pooling in the pipeline trench. On Sept. 16, it ordered the company to pay $3.32 million for failing to follow environmental laws.
“Enbridge is fully cooperating with the Minnesota DNR in correcting uncontrolled groundwater flows at Clearbrook, and is working with the DNR as two other locations are being evaluated,” company spokeswoman Juli Kellner said by e-mail Saturday.
She did not specify the location of the two other sites, but stressed that they are not located at Clearbrook.
Oil started flowing through the pipeline on Oct. 1. Strongly opposed by environmental groups and some Ojibwe bands, it carries a thick Canadian crude across northern Minnesota to the company’s terminal in Superior, Wis.
Under the DNR’s order, Enbridge put $2.75 million put into escrow for restoration and damage to the delicate wetland, known as a calcareous fen. Enbridge could get some of the $2.75 million back if remediation costs less, or it could end up paying more if the bill is higher.
Enbridge has paid an additional $40,000 as compensation to the state for the last 30 days of groundwater resources lost due to uncontrolled flow and agreed to pay for additional future losses, the DNR said.
The state also fined Enbridge $20,000, the maximum allowed under state law. The fine would have been waived if Enbridge had fixed the problem by Friday’s deadline.
The DNR has also referred the matter to the Clearwater County attorney for possible criminal prosecution.
Enbridge will not contest the requirements set in the DNR’s order and has provided all information and paid the penalty and mitigation amounts as required, Kellner said.
The aquifer breach is a significant error on one of the largest construction projects in the state’s recent history. For months it was largely out of public view because of its rural location and the company’s failure to tell regulators about it when it happened.
Outraged environmental groups, scientists and Ojibwe bands who opposed the pipeline called the state’s enforcement action in September too little, too late, saying the rupture is exactly the sort of problem they expected would happen in Minnesota’s watery landscape.
Frank Bibeau, a attorney representing the White Earth Band of Ojibwe, said Saturday that the band wants to fly the length of the pipeline using thermal imagery to look for other leaks. Water coming from an aquifer would be warmer than the surrounding ground, he said.
Members of the band have speculated that the ground surrounding the rupture is too saturated for Enbridge to get in and fix it.
“That’s what we believe is happening and that’s why they haven’t met the cleanup deadline,” Bibeau said. “Nobody’s telling anybody anything. That’s why we’re setting up a flyover.”
AER: New Functionality Moving to OneStop
On November 4, 2021 we will release new functionality to the OneStop platform:
Well Directional Surveys
Licensees will have the ability to submit directional survey data through OneStop. As a result of the transition to OneStop, the AER will no longer accept directional survey PDF data submitted by email effective 5:00 p.m. on October 26, 2021. After this date, licensees must pause their submissions until November 4, 2021.
Licensees will be required to submit directional survey data using new directional survey templates (.xlsx or.csv). These templates will be available on the OneStop landing page on November 4, 2021 or by contacting the AER’s Customer Contact Centre prior to November 4, 2021.
Licensees must submit directional survey data for each drilling leg within 30 calendar days of the finished drill date.
We will schedule a system outage to implement these new changes. The outage notice will be posted on our Systems and Tools portal on our website, www.aer.ca and the OneStop landing page.
Training and support materials
We will host virtual training sessions on how to submit directional survey data through the OneStop platform. More details, including registration, can be found on the Events page.
A new quick reference guide (QRG) will be posted on the OneStop landing page to support directional surveys.
If you have questions about OneStop or this bulletin, contact the AER’s Customer Contact Centre by phone at 403-297-8311 (1-855-297-8311 toll free) or by email at [email protected].
Alberta Labour shortage concerns extend to oil and gas well cleanup efforts
(Source: Canadian Press) CALGARY — Alberta’s efforts to clean up tens of thousands of inactive oil and gas wells in the province could be delayed by a shortage of rig workers.
Mark Scholz, chief executive of the Canadian Association of Energy Contractors (CAOEC), said cleanup efforts will “face pressure” due to a significant labour shortage in the drilling and services sector. Many of the same companies that provide rigs to oil and gas companies for new drilling programs are also involved in industry cleanup efforts, and hire the same workers for both types of contracts.
“Whether it’s for new programs or abandonment operations, we’re all going to be faced with crew shortages. So will (cleanup) be impacted? Yeah, it will,” Scholz said.
Alberta has an estimated 97,000 inactive wells, as well as 73,500 wells that have been sealed and taken out of service but not yet fully remediated, according to provincial government figures.
The oil and gas industry has been under increasing pressure from environmentalists and landowner groups to clean up these sites and reclaim the land they sit on. Last year, the Alberta government announced it would require companies to spend a minimum amount of money every year ($422-million in 2021) toward cleanup of inactive wells.
The federal government has also made $1-billion available to Alberta for industry contractors working on well cleanup.
The government programs, in addition to trying to accelerate remediation of inactive sites, were also borne out of a desire to create jobs for unemployed rig workers at the outset of the pandemic. Oil prices crashed in early 2020 and many rigs were idled, throwing more than 6,000 people employed in the drilling and services sector out of work, according to PetroLMI, an industry labour market information provider and a division of EnergySafe Canada.
However, the situation is dramatically different than it was a year ago. Oil and gas companies in Western Canada are once again ramping up production – this time to meet rising global energy demand as COVID-19 restrictions ease around the world.
Industry statistics show there were 175 active drilling rigs in Canada last week, compared to just 75 in the same period last year and 155 in 2019. That means there’s a lot more work to be had: according to PetroLMI, the unemployment rate in Alberta’s oil and gas services sector fell from 18.1 per cent in September 2020 to 3.4 per cent in September 2021.
PetroLMI vice-president Carol Howes said her organization recently conducted a survey of drilling companies and found that a lot of those that historically worked in the traditional oil and gas sector broadened their scope in 2020 to work in the area of well closure and cleanup. She said for some companies, those cleanup contracts kept them from going under.
“We heard that time and time again as we interviewed and discussed this with companies – that it (cleanup activity) kept them alive until things started to turn around again,” she said.
Daryl Bennett, an Alberta farmer who sits on the board of the Action Surface Rights Association – which helps landowners navigate dealings with the energy sector – said he is worried that increased activity in the oilpatch will mean fewer drilling companies will want to bid on well closure and reclamation projects.
“I imagine a lot (of companies) will switch over, and there won’t be as much cleanup work being done,” Bennett said.
In an email, Alberta Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Henshaw acknowledged that increased demand for labour may cause short-term planning challenges and delays getting abandonment and reclamation work started.
But Henshaw said increased labour demand is a sign of Alberta’s economic recovery, and good news in the long run.
“There is no doubt that higher oil and gas prices have led to increased drilling activity, which can attract more workers and increase industry’s ability to fulfill their environmental liability obligations,” she said.
Henshaw said the Alberta government is in talks with the province’s energy sector to ensure that staffing needs are met “to support the industry’s critical role in Alberta’s economic recovery as well as accelerated well cleanup.”
EllisDon Construction Services Inc. ordered to pay $100,000 for violating the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994
Wildlife enforcement officers work across the country, enforcing the laws and regulations that protect and conserve wildlife and its habitat. This work aims to reduce threats and damage to biodiversity for the benefit of Canadians and all living things.
On October 4, 2021, EllisDon Construction Services Inc. was sentenced in the Provincial Court of Alberta in Calgary after pleading guilty to one count of violating section 6(a) of the Migratory Birds Regulations pursuant to the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA, 1994). The offences relate to disturbing migratory bird nests without a permit during the course of their work at the West Calgary Ring Road project site in June 2019.
EllisDon Construction Services Inc. was ordered to pay a mandatory minimum fine of $100,000. The fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund. In addition to the fine, EllisDon Construction Services Inc. has been ordered by the court to develop educational material on migratory birds for staff and subcontractors to review on‑site during staff orientation.
On June 10, 2019, a member of the public discovered bird boxes on the ground and heard chirping. After the bird boxes were reattached to fence posts, it was confirmed that Tree Swallows, a protected migratory bird species, were actively using seven of these nest boxes. Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) enforcement officers responded to the complaint from a member of the public by conducting an inspection on an EllisDon worksite, which led to an investigation. During the site inspection, enforcement officers determined that approximately seven bird boxes had been taken down and subsequently reattached to the fence posts. The officers also observed several Tree Swallows flying around the site and accessing the bird boxes.
As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry. The Registry contains information on convictions of corporations registered for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.
Up to 80% in wage subsidies when hiring for full-time roles
Applications for ECO Canada’s Science Horizon Internship Program are now open and eligible employers can receive up to $25K for hiring & training costs when hiring young professionals (30 and under) for roles using STEM skills with a focus on the environment and sustainability.
Additional funding may also be available for costs associated with travel, remote locations, childcare, and other support.
This second intake for the Women in STEM scholarship, which was introduced earlier this year, demonstrates the Alberta government’s commitment to supporting women in pursuing rewarding careers in these fields. Each successful applicant will receive $2,500 to support their studies. The scholarship is open to women currently studying in STEM fields.
“During the first intake, Alberta’s government was able to support 50 young women pursuing studies in STEM. We are committed to supporting women and girls to succeed in whatever career path they choose, including STEM. This commitment is even more important now, as emerging technology and innovation play a significant part of Alberta’s economic recovery and diversification. We want to inspire women and girls to write the next great chapter, code or formula in Alberta’s story.”
“When we empower women and girls to enter STEM professions, we are investing in our future and tapping into a highly skilled workforce. As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, I’m proud that we’re investing in women and girls to pursue, impact and succeed in the fields of science, engineering, technology and math.”
The deadline for applications is Dec. 31. Those interested in applying can visit the program website to find the scholarship criteria and applicant information.
- The first intake of the Women in STEM scholarship closed on Feb. 21, 2021.
- The scholarship received 106 eligible applications.
- The majority of applicants were attending MacEwan University, Mount Royal University, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.
ESAA Member News
REMEMBERING ANDREA MCEACHERN, PRESIDENT, CLRA NATIONAL
Andrea McEachern, 59, of Calgary, passed away on September 17, 2021, after complications due to a heart attack. For those who were fortunate to know her, Andrea imprinted her joy and lust for life on each of us in a personalized way that was derived from a seemingly endless sense of compassion and understanding.
Her passion was the reclamation awards; she always felt there were so many deserving candidates in our Reclamation Community. In honour of Andrea’s contribution to the CLRA as a director and President for over 12 years, an “Andrea McEachern Memorial Award” will be created. The award (scholarship) will be awarded annually to a candidate that exemplifies leadership and volunteerism in the reclamation industry. The details of the award and nomination process will be released once finalized. The family asks that in lieu of flowers to please contribute to the award. Click here to donate.
AGAT Laboratories Announces Appointment of VP Mining
New ESAA Member
ESAA welcomes the following new member. If you are not a member of ESAA you can join now via: https://esaa.org/membership/join-esaa/
333-50 Ave. S.E
Calgary, Canada, AB T3A 4Y7
Phone: (403) 998-6541
Koshy Malayil, Chief Technical Officer
KaizenLAB is a well-established Accredited Environmental Laboratory with expertise in environmental organic, inorganic and microbiology analyses. We have been in operation for 28 years providing analytical services to the oil and gas, environmental consulting, municipalities, landfills, water & wastewater clients in Western Canada.
VIRTUAL 2021 Federal Contaminated Sites National Workshop
- Registration for RPIC’s Federal Contaminated Sites National Workshop is Now Open!
Real Property Institute of Canada (RPIC) invites you to the inaugural VIRTUAL 2021 Federal Contaminated Sites National Workshop, which will be held on November 15-18, 2021. The Virtual Workshop will be a unique opportunity to hear from government and industry leaders.
Some topics on our agenda include:
- Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
- Socio-economics and Indigenous Engagement
- Northern Site Challenges
Why register in our inaugural VIRTUAL 2021 Federal Contaminated Sites National Workshop? There are many reasons to attend, but to name just three:
1. This Virtual Workshop will be a unique opportunity to hear from and network with government and industry leaders
2. 4 days of concurrent sessions and keynote speakers
3. A chance to celebrate our amazing award winners!
There’s still time to get your tickets! This workshop will be held on November 15-18, 2021, and registration is open now for you to reserve your spot.
We look forward to seeing you there!
AER Training Event: Additional OneStop Record of Site Condition (RoSC) Training
Effective July 8, 2021, industry is required to submit all Records of Site Condition (RoSCs) and associated professional reports using OneStop (with the exception of submissions required under an Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) approval for mining operations).
To further assist industry, we will be hosting virtual training sessions that will provide more detailed information on submitting the RoSC in OneStop, including a brief overview of the form, several site examples, and common errors.
You will have the opportunity to ask questions and familiarize yourself with the process.
- OCT 25 Mon, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM MDT
- OCT 27 Wed, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM MDT
- NOV 1 Mon, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM MDT
- NOV 3 Wed, 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM MDT
To register, sign up through Eventbrite.
2022 AGM & Conference
February 23-25, 2022
Alberta CLRA: Celebrating the profession; collaboration, education and engagement.
The Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Land Reclamation Association (CLRA) will be hosting its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference in Red Deer, Alberta from Wednesday, February 23 – Friday, February 25, 2022. There will also be an online component for portions of the event.
The conference consists of:
- Sponsor Booths
- Two Days of Presentations
- Networking Opportunities
- Wednesday Evening Reception
- Thursday Evening Social, Banquet, and Awards
- CLRA Alberta Annual General Meeting
Call for Abstracts
Deadline: December 1, 2021 midnight.
2022 Conference Theme:
“Alberta CLRA: Celebrating the profession; collaboration, education and engagement.”
The online ‘Abstracts Submission Form’ must be used for all abstract submissions. No other format will be accepted.
The review of abstracts will take between 4 and 6 weeks from the abstract deadline. The program committee aims to communicate selections by mid-January 2022.
Abstract Submission Form: https://pheedloop.com/CLRAAB2022/proposal/start/?call=CAL72ZC8M65S686
ESAA Job Board
Check out the new improved ESAA Job Board. Members can post ads for free.
- Intermediate Environmental Scientist / Project Manager – Arletta Environmental Consulting Corp.
- Senior Environmental Scientist- Reporting Lead –
- Intermediate Environmental Consultant (2)- North Shore Environmental Consultant
- Junior Environmental Consultant –
- Intermediate Environmental Scientist –
- Environmental Project Manager –
- Environmental Scientist (2) –
- Principal Hydrogeologist –
- Project Controller –
- Senior Air Quality Scientist –
- Senior Geotechnical Engineer – SLR Consulting
- Intermediate Environmental Scientist / Project Manager –
- Intermediate/Senior Environmental Specialist – Summit, An Earth Services Company
- Remediation Specialist/Environmental Engineer – Summit, An Earth Services Company
- Intermediate/Senior Environmental Specialist (Multiple) – Summit, An Earth Services Company
- Labourer (2) – Summit, An Earth Services Company
- Intermediate Environmental Scientist / Project Manager –
- Junior Planner, Lands – ATCO
- Planner, Lands – ATCO
- Intermediate Environmental Consultant – GCL Environmental
- Reclamation Coordinator – Tree Time Services
- Intermediate Environmental Scientist – NorthWind Land Resources
- Senior Reclamation/Remediation Specialist –
- Field Level Supervisor –
- Lead Crew Hand –
- Environmental Compliance Administrator –