A natural gas operation that halted work after a 4.6-magnitude earthquake in northeastern British Columbia last week has been linked to the largest earthquake in the province that’s been attributed to fracking.
Progress Energy, which is owned by Malaysia’s Petronas, paused its operations after the Aug. 17 quake that occurred 114 kilometres from Fort St. John.
The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission has previously said that hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — by the same company triggered a 4.4-magnitude earthquake that was felt in Fort St. John and Fort Nelson in August 2014.
Progress Energy responded late Wednesday, saying the cause of the recent quake has not yet been established.
“The northeast B.C. foothills is a seismically active area with more than 6,000 seismic events each year, 99 per cent of which measure a magnitude so low that they are not felt on the surface,” said a statement from spokesman Dave Sterna.
The company has voluntarily installed 17 seismic monitoring stations in its operating area, Sterna added.
A report by the commission said fracking has caused nearly 200 seismic events in the Montney Trend, which stretches from the B.C.-Alberta boundary near Dawson Creek to the B.C. Rocky Mountain foothills.
The report that investigated fracking, the process of fluid injection into rock to extract natural gas, looked into quakes recorded between August 2013 and October 2014.
A few facts to disrupt the narrative:
The Richter Scale measures the severity of a seismic event. One measuring 4.4 would be felt and cause only minor damage.
British Columbia happens to be along a fault line. In fact, British Columbia is no stranger to earthquakes big or small. A recent one measured 5.2 on the Richter Scale. A few larger ones measured well over seven on the Richter Scale. In 1946, a 7.3 earthquake caused two deaths, one due to drowning and the other a heart attack. A bigger earthquake is yet to come.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is done away from urban areas making the likelihood of massive urban infrastructure damage and physical harm to the population nil.
But those are just facts.