Quakes near Fort St. John confirmed to be from fracking

Fracking operations were suspended after three mini-quakes three weeks ago

The red dot in the upper right hand corner of B.C. marks the seismic events that occurred November 29. | Natural Resources Canada

A BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC) investigation has confirmed that three seismic events near Fort St. John in northeastern B.C. on November 29 were from hydraulic fracturing.

The three seismic events registered as high as 4.5 on the Richter scale.  A 4.5 magnitude quake is deemed to be “light.” It can cause noise and slight disturbances in a home near the quake’s epicenter, but rarely causes damage. The smallest was 3.4.

The epicenters were in areas 16 kilometres southwest and 25 kilometres southeast of Fort St. John.

The seismic events were triggered by fluid injection during a hydraulic fracturing operation by Canadian Natural Resources, according to the BCOGC. All fracking operations were immediately suspended in that area, pending an initial investigation by the BCOGC.

Fracking operations by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ) in the area where the drilling occurred will remain suspended pending a further more detailed technical review, according to the BCOGC.

Other companies operating in the area are allowed to resume operations, however, but must submit revised induced seismicity assessments before resuming operations.