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Natural Gas Exploration to Begin in Pictou County

Energy/Environment
October 31, 2013

Natural gas exploration in Pictou County is getting underway, under strict regulations from the departments of Energy and Environment.

East Coast Energy Inc. has met all regulatory requirements, including permits to drill two test wells into the Foord coal seam at a depth of about 540 metres. The permits do not allow the use of hydraulic fracturing.

“East Coast Energy has all of the necessary permits in place to begin exploring for local and cleaner sources of natural gas,” said Energy Minister Andrew Younger. “Drilling companies must follow a strict regulatory approval process that ensures any activity is done in a safe manner that protects the environment.”

All drilling applications in Nova Scotia must go before a one-window standing committee of provincial government departments. East Coast Energy has met with representatives from the departments of Energy, Environment, Labour and Advanced Education, and Natural Resources.

Applications for an Authority to Drill from the Department of Energy are subject to:
– review by the department and a third-party drilling engineer
– review and approval by the Department of Environment
– open house in the community
– permission from the landowners
– Aboriginal notification

“Any oil and gas activity in our province must be done in a way that minimizes any risk to the environment, especially our water resources,” said Environment Minister Randy Delorey. “Our staff carefully reviews these applications and, if an approval is given, terms and conditions are put in place to protect the environment.”

Industrial approvals with the Department of Environment include water management, process waste management and air-quality control.

Requirements from the industrial approval include:
– erosion, sedimentation and spill control measures
– industrial waste must be treated at approved facilities
– air-quality control measures
– water testing of all wells within one kilometre
– water monitoring of all surface water within 500 metres of the drill site

As part of its water management plan, East Coast Energy has tested all water wells within one kilometre of the two well sites. All 16 wells tested positive for natural gas. These results have been shared with residents.

The company has submitted an emergency response plan and will provide daily reports to the Department of Energy once drilling begins. The drilling program for the two wells is expected to take place over 30 to 40 days.

Before the company can undertake any further activities, it would have to apply to the departments of Energy and Environment for permits.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Natural gas exploration in Pictou County is getting underway, under strict regulations from the departments of Energy and Environment.

East Coast Energy Inc. has met all regulatory requirements, including permits to drill two test wells into the Foord coal seam at a depth of about 540 metres. The permits do not allow the use of hydraulic fracturing.

Energy Minister Andrew Younger says East Coast Energy has all of the necessary permits in place to begin exploring for local and cleaner sources of natural gas. He also says all drilling companies operating in Nova Scotia must follow a strict regulatory approval process that ensures any activity is done in a safe manner that protects the environment.

All drilling applications in Nova Scotia must go before a standing committee of provincial government departments. East Coast Energy has met with representatives from the departments of Energy, Environment, Labour and Advanced Education, and Natural Resources.

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Media Contacts: Darcy MacRae
902-424-1757
Cell: 902-483-4625
E-mail: [email protected]

Lori Errington
902-424-7420
Cell: 902-483-4625
E-mail: [email protected]

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