Hydraulic Fracturing Code of Conduct: Industry’s Commitment to Canadians

HF code graphicHydraulic fracturing operations have been around for more than 60 years in Canada and used safely to complete more than 170,000 wells. The technology has evolved to allow for more complex wells to be drilled and completed, and some of these wells now reach lengths in excess of 2000 meters. Today, hydraulic fracturing is often credited as one of the key technologies responsible for extending the potential supply of Canada’s unconventional energy resources by over 100 years.

The technology of hydraulic fracturing is very complex, and so it’s no wonder there is a growing public interest in how the technology works and the impacts of modern day oil and gas operations using the technology. With industry relying heavily on hydraulic fracturing, there was a need to respond to and inform Canadians about this technology and the regulations surrounding it. With that goal in mind, the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) and 11 of its members who conduct these operations launched the Working Energy Commitment in February 2013.

This initiative outlined a set of guiding principles under which PSAC members conduct themselves. By supporting this initiative, companies pledged to communicate with communities, continuously improve how they develop Canada’s oil and gas resources, and to create a hydraulic fracturing code of conduct. And this is exactly what they did.

The Guiding Principles attached to the Working Energy Commitment set the framework for discussions with residents in local communities across Western Canada where the industry is active, with a specific focus on listening and responding to questions and concerns related to hydraulic fracturing. A six-month series of community engagement sessions were held across Western Canada, and PSAC had the chance to meet with more than 100 local community residents including landowners, local business, and local government. Representatives from provincial regulators, producer companies, and other upstream associations joined PSAC to provide an overview of industry operations and the world class regulatory regime here in Canada. In addition, PSAC used the opportunity to seek out input and feedback that was then used to inform the development of a hydraulic fracturing code of conduct.

Community engagement sessions were held in: Dawson Creek, British Columbia; Drayton Valley, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie and Red Deer, Alberta; Carlyle, Saskatchewan; and Brandon, Manitoba. In addition, PSAC returned to several communities to ask for additional feedback on the code of conduct in its draft form.

PSAC’s president and CEO Mark Salkeld explained the relevance of the Working Energy Commitment. “Working closely with stakeholders is critical to building trust in oil and gas operations,” he said. “We’ve seen public concern surrounding hydraulic fracturing operations increase over the past years. It was definitely time to address that in a proactive and positive way, but we knew talking to community members wasn’t going to be enough. We had to act. That’s why we developed the Hydraulic Fracturing Code of Conduct.”

After completing this intensive engagement program, PSAC released the Hydraulic Fracturing Code of Conduct for the Canadian oil and gas service sector, on October 30, 2013. This Code is a significant milestone for Canada’s oil and gas services sector, as the 11 member companies who partnered in the development of the Code have voluntarily agreed to follow it, wherever they work in Canada.

The Hydraulic Fracturing Code of Conduct outlines standard practices for sound technical and environmental performance when fracturing a well and defines mutual expectations for working with stakeholders. The Code also includes a series of commitments focused on five key areas of their operations: water and the environment; fracturing fluid disclosure; technology development; health, safety and training; and, community engagement. The Code captures the common operating practices amongst the 11 endorsing companies, as well as their commitment to continuous improvement in their technical and environmental performance.

Endorsing companies:

 Baker Hughes Canada
 Calfrac Well Services
 Canyon Technical Services
 Element Technical Services
 Gasfrac Energy Services
 Halliburton Group Canada
 Iron Horse Energy Services
 Millennium Stimulation Services
 Sanjel Corporation
 Schlumberger Canada
 Trican Well Service

“This code is about improving communications with local communities in an effort to enhance transparency in our operations, and build greater public trust in our members’ commitment to ensuring the safe operations of our industry,” added Salkeld.

PSAC is the national trade association representing nearly than 250 of Canada’s leading service, supply and manufacturing companies in the upstream industry. Our members employ more than 75,000 people, and contract almost exclusively to exploration and production companies.

For more information about PSAC and the Hydraulic Fracturing Code of Conduct, please visit oilandgasinfo.ca

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