Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Billings Gazette: Shell plans CBM wells over border

Billings Gazette: Shell plans CBM wells over border

“Montana officials worried that development in the province could harm the state’s water quality”

Associated Press
Posted 14 August 04

HELENA (AP) – Shell Canada Limited said Friday that it wants to explore for coalbed methane this fall in southeastern British Columbia, an area of concern for Montana officials worried that development in the province could harm the state’s water quality.

Shell and partner Elk Valley Coal Co. planned to hold a community meeting Thursday in Sparwood, British Columbia, to discuss proposals, Shell spokeswoman Laurieanne Lynne said.

Shell is interested in exploring for coalbed methane beneath Elk Valley Coal land between Sparwood and Fernie, British Columbia, Lynne said. She said Shell expects to seek a provincial permit in September, undertake construction work at the site in October, drill between mid-October and November, and run tests until perhaps this spring.

“Then we would have to evaluate our findings and determine the next steps,” Lynne said from Shell’s office in Calgary, Alberta. The company is interested in drilling four wells, Lynne said.

Talk of potential coalbed methane development in the Fernie area, between Sparwood and the Montana border, has raised concerns in Montana as officials consider possible harm to the transboundary Flathead River system. The North Fork of the Flathead forms the western boundary of Glacier National Park in Montana.

In action separate from Shell’s plan, the province is auctioning coal-bed methane leases for the Fernie area and plans to continue the sale until Aug. 25, over the objections of Gov. Judy Martz and others south of border. The Fernie City Council has also been critical, saying the province appears on track to advance coal-bed methane development too quickly.

British Columbia officials say any emerging CBM industry would be regulated closely to protect the environment.

Shell’s plan in the Sparwood area is alarming for Montana because it’s located in the Elk River watershed, said Dave Hadden of the Montana Wilderness Association. The Elk River is a tributary of the Kootenai River, which flows into the state. Concerns include the well-being of imperiled bull trout and possible interference with the movement of wildlife north and south of the international border by coalbed methane drilling, Hadden said.

“We know some people have expressed concerns, and we want to show that we are ready to do things responsibly,” Lynne said. The meeting Thursday will be an opportunity to share information, she said. and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

0 Comments on “Billings Gazette: Shell plans CBM wells over border”

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: