News Release 2012-12-12


News Release 2012-12-12

News Release 2012-12-12 (NR2012-12)

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ERCB releases investigation report on hydraulic fracturing incident near Innisfail

For immediate release

Calgary, Alberta (Dec 12, 2012)… The Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) has released its investigation report into a Midway Energy Ltd. hydraulic fracturing incident that occurred near Innisfail, Alberta on January 13, 2012.

The ERCB’s investigation into the incident concludes that Midway Energy’s hydraulic fracturing operation resulted in an increase in pressure in a nearby Wild Stream Exploration Inc. well, causing a release of fluid to surface at the Wild Stream wellhead.

Communication between the two wells occurred within the same formation at a depth of approximately 1850 metres below the surface. The wellbores were approximately 129 metres apart at their closest point. The fracturing in formation created by Midway's hyraulic fracturing operation resulted in communication pathways between the two wells and resultant pressure increase in the Wildstream well resulted in a release of fracturing and formation fluids to surface.

The ERCB investigation concludes that Midway and Wild Stream appropriately managed the incident, mitigated potential environmental damage, and disposed of the oilfield waste in compliance with regulatory standards and that the incident did not impact the public, livestock, groundwater, or surface water bodies.

On January 23, 2012, the ERCB issued Bulletin 2012-02: Hydraulic Fracturing: Interwellbore Communication between Energy Wells in response to the incident.

Subsequently, on December 6, 2012, the ERCB released a draft directive that addresses sub-surface issues related to hydraulic fracturing, including the prevention of interwellbore communication, well integrity and well completions in shallow zones. 

Incidents of this nature are very rare. More than 171,000 oil and gas wells have been hydraulically fractured in Alberta since the 1950s. In recent years, more than 5,000 multi-stage hydraulic fracturing operations have been conducted in horizontal wells in Alberta.

ERCB Bulletin 2012-02, the draft hydraulic fracturing directive and the investigation report are available at


An ERCB investigation into hydraulic fracturing incident near Innisfail on January 12 of this year concludes that Midway Energy Ltd. hydraulic fracturing operations near a Wildstream Exploration Inc. well caused fluid to be released to surface.  Copies of the investigation report and draft directive are available at

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For more information, please contact:

Darin Barter
Phone: 403-681-0946
Media line: 1-855-474-6356