Skip to content

NEWS: Fracking in its ‘infancy’ in Ontario

Toronto’s NOW Magazine reports, “Shale gas exploration, which involves the extraction of natural gas from rock using water, sand and chemicals in a method called hydraulic fracking, or hydrofracking, is in its infancy in Ontario. But a three-year study by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines uncovered areas of potential development in almost all of southwestern Ontario west of London and a section of southeastern Ontario. One exploratory well has been drilled in Chatham.”

In March 2010, the Toronto Star reported that Calgary-based Mooncor Oil & Gas Corp. intends to drill for shale gas in the Kettle Point Formation known as Antrim Shale in Lambton and Kent counties, and the Collingwood/Blue Mountain formations known as Utica Shale. “It has already locked up nearly 23,000 acres (9.30776 hectares) of land in Lambton and Kent counties…” A company media release this past June notes, “Technical review of the Ontario land base has identified up to 22 oil drilling locations (firm and contingent) adjacent to two producing oil pools. In addition, Mooncor has identified 6 Silurian Pinnacle prospects.”

Both the provincial and federal government appear to be encouraging fracking in Ontario. The Toronto Star has reported, “To assist exploration companies, the province recently released an aerial survey of southwestern Ontario that maps out magnetic variations in the upper crust. These variations flag certain geological zones that lend themselves to oil and gas formation. ‘We’re just pointing out (to industry) that this is something you may have missed,’ (Terry) Carter (a petroleum resources geologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources) said. And why is Ontario being missed? ‘People go to where they know there’s been success first. And there’s been huge success in the United States, so that attracts more exploration,’ he said. ‘That’s what’s missing in Ontario. We have to prove it’s productive.’ …(And) Tony Hamblin, a petroleum geologist with Natural Resources Canada, said Ontario represents a ripe opportunity that has been largely overlooked.”

In March 2010, the Chatham Daily News reported, “Mark Calzavara, a regional organizer for the Council of Canadians, said… ‘Fracking is very scary. It’s created a gold rush mentality amongst a lot of oil companies and it has a lot of deleterious effects on groundwater.’ Calzavara said landowners who have signed agreements with the company should measure and test their well water before and during the work. ‘Locally, you have to look at protecting your ground water because no one else will,’ he said.” To read about the concerns raised by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario in late-November about fracking in the province, please see Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui’s blog at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12466.

The Council of Canadians opposes fracking because of its high water use, its high carbon emissions, its impacts on human health, the disruption it causes to wildlife, and the danger it poses to groundwater and local drinking water. We are calling for a country-wide stop to fracking operations. We have just launched a petition campaign – at http://canadians.org/action/2011/fracking.html – to put pressure on the federal government to step into a leadership role and ensure that our water sources, people’s health and the environment are protected from unnecessary and dangerous pollution.