​AER denies Bashaw Oil request to drill sour oil wells due to public safety concerns

Image: AER

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) says it has denied applications by Bashaw Oil Corp. to drill three critical sour oil wells near Drayton Valley due to public safety concerns.

A critical sour well is a well that could potentially release large quantities of hydrogen sulphide (H2S)—a toxic gas that can harm people and animals.

Following a hearing in Drayton Valley in December, the AER has determined that Bashaw’s site-specific emergency response plan was incomplete and that the company did not adequately consult with the public and county on the project.

The AER also determined that an additional road is needed in this case to ensure that residents can safely evacuate in an emergency, the regulator said.

Specifically, Bashaw did not provide enough information in its site-specific emergency response plan to demonstrate that it can safely evacuate people in the event of an emergency, find an alternative to an additional evacuation route, and adequately consult with local landowners and Brazeau County to understand how to incorporate their needs into its site-specific emergency response plan.

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