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sector_ico_Environment_trans Environment

Natural Attenuation and Phytoremediation of Fracking Fluids

  • Project Leaders: Sean Crowe, Diane Almeida, Shawn Mansfield, Laurie Welch
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $353,500
  • Competition: User Partnership Program
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome BC
  • Fiscal Year: 2016
  • Status: Active

Shale gas, the natural resource that feeds the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) strategy of the Province of BC, is extracted by relatively new technologies using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Fracking uses large volumes of water and additives to increase permeability in shale formations and boost gas flow into the wells. The ultimate fate of additives and shale derivatives and their effect on the well environment, surrounding groundwater, and soils are not well understood. There are concerns about the environmental impacts of potential spills/releases of additives or fracking fluids during routine shale gas extraction operations. BC Oil and Gas Commission (BC OGC) is partnering with Progress Energy, and 2 academic research labs to create new knowledge on the attenuation and remediation of key contaminants associated with shale gas development. Long term goals of this research is expected to lead to effective remediation of contaminants at reduced costs, while meeting regulatory guidelines based on objective, scientific data.