Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Submissions

During our next phase of exploration, we plan on drilling a few vertical wells to take rock samples. Wells drilled in this phase of exploration are for science and will not be hydraulically fractured at this time. They may be stimulated to test productivity during future phases of our exploration program. Future exploratory work on these wells will require a new round of regulatory review.

We have recently submitted four phased Environmental Impact Assessments with the Department of Environment and Local Government. During this process, we continue our discussions with First Nations and other New Brunswickers about this phase of the project.


EIA Submissions

Lower Saint Charles
Lower Saint Charles - Addendum
Pangburn
Galloway
Bronson

Exploratory Well Infographic

Exploratory Well Drilling

Download Exploratory Well Infographic

Exploratory Well Fact Sheet

Exploratory wells (stratigraphic wells)

The next phase of our exploration program involves drilling a few vertical wells in order to study and take rock samples. These wells are called stratigraphic wells or exploratory wells. Well depths will range from 1,000 – 4,000 metres, (approximately 3,280 – 13,123 feet) below ground surface. Rock samples collected will help us better understand the geology of the region and indicate if and what types of hydrocarbons are present in the rock.

Four important things to know about exploratory wells:

  • Wells to be drilled in this phase of exploration are for science and will not be hydraulically fractured at this time. They may be stimulated to test productivity during future phases of our exploration program. Future exploratory work on these wells will require a new round of regulatory review.
  • Science wells are used to study the rock samples collected.
  • Multiple layers of special cement and steel casing will protect groundwater.
  • When operations are complete, wells will be safely secured and fenced, in accordance with New Brunswick laws and regulations.

Regulatory environment

The regulatory environment in New Brunswick is multi-faceted, with many points of contact with regulators and opportunities for input. For instance, as part of the provincial government’s phased Environmental Impact Assessment we will be consulting with New Brunswickers before and during drilling operations. During this process we will continue our discussions with First Nations and other New Brunswickers about this phase of exploration. Our exploration program is subject to approvals and permits from the Department of Environment and Local Government, Department of Energy and Mines, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat and Transport Canada.

What to expect

The entire process from construction to drilling to capping will take approximately 90 days in total, (not necessarily consecutive). The initial stages of construction will involve heavy equipment such as bulldozers and dump trucks. This equipment will be used to construct access roads and build the well pad. A typical well site is approximately 3 hectares (7.5 acres) in size.

After the well pad is constructed, the drilling rig will be brought in. When drilling starts, tractor-trailer trucks will be used to transport the rig, fuel, water, and cement to the well site.

As there may be disruptions on nearby roadways resulting from our operations, we will work with community leadership to schedule traffic at appropriate times so nearby residents can continue with their normal routines.

Safety features

Wells are designed with multiple safety features to ensure health and environmental protection. Each of our wells will be equipped with:

  • Multiple layers of steel casing cemented in place, to protect any groundwater in the area. The cement used in oil and natural gas wells is very different and much stronger than cement used for sidewalks.
  • A blowout preventer (BOP) is a combination of safety valves at the top of the well that would be closed if a well becomes unstable.
  • A complex monitoring system with sensors at the surface measuring what goes in and out of the well. We will have specialists on-site during active operations to monitor the well.

After drilling

When drilling is complete and rock samples have been gathered, the drilling equipment will be removed from the site. The well will then be capped and sealed in strict accordance with New Brunswick regulations. Samples collected will be transferred to specialized labs for in-depth analysis.


Download Exploratory Well Fact Sheet

Frequently Asked Questions

Operations

What is an exploratory well? Why are you doing these?
Exploratory wells or stratigraphic wells are vertical wells used to study and take rock samples. Well depths will range from 1,000 – 4,000 metres (approximately 3,280 – 13,123 feet), below ground surface. The rock samples that are collected will help us better understand the geology of the region and indicate if and what types of hydrocarbons are present in the rock. Exploratory wells are needed to fully understand if there is a viable resource to develop and are a necessary stage of oil and natural gas exploration.

How many wells will you be drilling?
We have submitted four Environmental Impact Assessment documents to the Department of Environment and Local Government for review. Upon approval, we hope to drill four exploratory wells in the province. To read more about our planned activities, click here to view each EIA submission.

Will these wells be hydraulically fractured?
Wells drilled in this phase of exploration are for science and will not be hydraulically fractured at this time. They may be stimulated to test productivity during future phases of our exploration program. Future exploratory work on these wells will require a new round of regulatory review.

What additives will you use?
On site, we will have petroleum, oil and lubricants which are used for fueling and lubrication of equipment. For the drilling fluid or drilling mud, used to lubricate the drill bit and to carry the drill cuttings to the surface, we will use water-based drilling fluid. Water-based drilling fluid consists of water and bentonite (a natural clay like substance). We are not planning on using oil-based drilling fluid during this stage of exploratory drilling.

How much water will you be using?
Water will be required during drilling in order to mix drilling fluid and cement, to clean equipment, and for other general purposes. In order to drill a well and carry out the associated activities, approximately 1,200-1,600 m3 of water is needed at each project site. This equates to 1.6 million litres of water for each project site. In Moncton, we use on average of 22 million litres of water per day.

Where will you access water for your operations?
For our water supply, we are considering an existing industrial water supply, untreated water from a nearby municipal water supply or surface water from a nearby watercourse withdrawn at a rate less than 50 m3 per day. Small quantities of potable freshwater from a nearby municipal water supply will also be used at the site for domestic purposes.

What time of day will you be operating?
Drilling operations occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How long will this take?
The entire process from construction to drilling to capping will take approximately 90 working days in total, (not necessarily consecutive).

Will you be drilling horizontally?
No, these exploratory wells are vertical.

Regulatory Oversight

How is exploratory drilling regulated in New Brunswick?
Exploratory wells are a necessary step in the exploration for oil or natural gas. The Province of New Brunswick has developed strong standards for industry as listed in their document Responsible Environmental Management of Oil and Natural Gas Activities in New Brunswick Rules for Industry document. To learn more about this, visit here.

What kind of regulatory oversight is there specifically for environmental issues?
We are committed to responsible environmental management and are proud of our safety track record. In New Brunswick, we follow the requirements listed in the Responsible Environmental Management of Oil and Natural Gas Activities in New Brunswick Rules for Industry document. To learn more about this, visit here.

Where can I find more information on this?
If you wish to learn more about this phase of our exploration program, you can contact us through our online form or call us at 1-877-796-6223. We have also made available to the public each Environmental Impact Assessment Submission which details all of the information you are looking for. To view these submissions, click here.

What is an EIA?
An EIA is an Environmental Impact Assessment, which is a process where all potential environmental interactions resulting from a proposed project are identified and assessed as part of the early phases of planning. The EIA identifies steps that need to be taken to avoid environmental impacts or reduce them to acceptable levels. It is a preventative, proactive approach to environmental protection and management. At SWN Resources Canada, we fully comply with this stage of the planning process and have made available to the public each EIA Submission, which comprehensively detail every stage of the proposed project.

Public Consultation

Where can I voice my concerns?
If you have any questions or comments about this phase of our exploration program, you can submit a comment/question through our online form found here or you can call us at 1-877-796-6223.

Will you be holding an open house or town hall meeting?
We are not holding open houses at this phase of the program, but if people have concerns or questions they can easily submit comments through our online form found here.

First Nations Engagement

Have you consulted with First Nations in New Brunswick?
We have been directly communicating with First Nations on all exploration activities completed since being awarded our Licences to Search in 2010. Our mandate is to continue to communicate project information to First Nations by various means and facilitate First Nations’ comments, questions and participation.

Environment

What will you do to ensure drinking water is protected?
It is our goal to never compromise the safety of our water resources and apply the most stringent Health, Safety and Environment practices in all stages of our operations. We have conducted site visits for each location so we can avoid environmentally sensitive areas including wellfield and watershed protected areas.

We are also developing a comprehensive Environmental Protection Plan that will protect any watercourses in the vicinity.

For each of the wells, multiple layers of cement casing will be used to protect ground water. The cement used in oil and natural gas wells is very different and much stronger than cement used for sidewalks. To learn more, click here.

Will extra truck traffic harm our roads?
Truck traffic will increase slightly and will be variable depending on the activities being carried out. All project-related traffic will abide by applicable weight, size, and speed limits. In the event that an oversized load is required, we will obtain a permit from the New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure.

How much light and noise can we expect from your operation?
Light and sound quality will vary and are dependent on the location of each operation. To learn more about each specific location, click here to view the EIA submissions.

Will air quality be affected by your work?
On-site, equipment will be motorized from diesel engines or generators. All of this equipment will be fitted with proper exhaust systems to minimize emissions. Dust that could be generated through construction and operations will be managed with appropriate dust-suppression measures.

How will wildlife and plants be affected?
In each of the EIA submissions, we detail any potential interaction with wildlife or plants. We have done our due diligence to identify and avoid any ecologically sensitive areas.

Exploration Program

What are the next steps after you drill these wells?
When drilling is complete and rock samples have been gathered, the drilling equipment will be removed from the site. The well will then be sealed in strict accordance with New Brunswick regulations. Samples collected will be transferred to specialized labs for in-depth analysis.

What happens to these wells once your work is complete?
Once this phase of exploration is complete wells will be safely secured and fenced, in accordance with New Brunswick laws and regulations.

Will these wells tell you if there is a large supply of natural gas in New Brunswick?
These wells will indicate if there are hydrocarbons present in the rock. There is still a lot of work to be done to determine the potential or size of the resource.

You have already been exploring for four years, don’t you know if we have natural gas or not?
Until we look at the rocks we cannot say for certain if reserves of oil and natural gas exist.

Job Opportunities

Will there be jobs for New Brunswickers or New Brunswick companies?
It is our goal to employ as many New Brunswickers as possible. With our seismic program over 90% of the crew members were from New Brunswick and 25% were First Nations.

Where can I apply for work?
For job related inquiries please contact 1-877-SWN-JOBS (1-877-796-5627) or swnnb@swn.com

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