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Sour gas leak prompts rejection of Shell expansion plans

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 16, 2008 | 4:56 PM MT 

CBC News

Alberta’s energy regulator has denied an application by Shell Canada to drill a new well near Beaver Mines, citing a sour gas leak in the area that forced 10 families to flee their homes.

In a release Tuesday, the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) announced it had denied the company’s expansion applications in the Foothills region in the southwest corner of the province.

The board cited a sour gas leak from a corroded pipeline in November 2007 that forced 10 families from their homes. Sour gas is a kind of natural gas containing toxic and flammable hydrogen sulphide.

“The EUB ruled that sufficient details have not been provided on how Shell will operate and monitor the proposed pipelines to ensure their integrity over the long term,” the agency said in a release.

Since the applications were filed, EUB has been split into two agencies and has made changes to its sour gas guidelines.

“The EUB also concludes that further information needs to be provided by Shell to have its applications considered, especially in light of changes over the last year to the board and its requirements,” said the release.

Shell wanted to build a sour gas well, two pipelines, a single well gas battery and to amend an existing licence to add a compressor about six kilometres from Beaver Mines.

Shell can still reapply to the new Energy Resources Conservation Board, the release said.

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