First oil exploration project in the Gaspé

Photo: Thierry Haroun Duty
The first project operating in the province must continue until 2060.

The company’s Cuda Oil and gas intends to launch the first project of oil exploitation business in Quebec by drilling at least 30 wells in an area located to the west of Gaspé. According to the documents filed by such subsidiary of an alberta company, the deposit of fossil fuels is expected to produce more than 15 million barrels and would be operated until 2060.

The ministry of the Environment and the Fight against climate change (MELCC) has published Thursday in the Register of environmental assessments the” Notice of project “filed by Cuda, dated November 30, 2018, as well as the “Directive” of the ministry for the environmental impact study of the project, dated 20 December.

The Duty was also tried, in vain, to get clarification on the part of the MELCC and the cabinet of the minister MarieChantal Chassé on the environmental assessment to come. We know, however, that citizens, groups and municipalities have until 1 February to submit their ” observations on the issues that the study of the impact of the project should address “.

As to the Opinion of the project published on Thursday, he said that Cuda Oil and gas, a company born out of the “reunion” last August, Junex and the alberta Cuda Energy, provides for the ” implementation of production from the deposit of Galt South-West “, located at about 20 km to the west of the town of Gaspé, in the Gaspé peninsula.

 Premier projet d'exploitation pétrolière en Gaspésie

According to the data presented by the company, the deposit is found to a depth ranging from one to three kilometres, over an area of about 20 km2. The amount of oil “salvage” is estimated at a maximum of 15 million barrels, equivalent to 42 days of consumption for Québec, at current levels of consumption.

All this oil should be extracted to ” forty years “, after the drilling of different wells, expected from 2020 to 2025. This means that the operation would continue ” until 2060 “. At the peak of productivity of the reservoir, it is anticipated that the daily production would reach more than 3000 barrels.

No fracturing

“This is a petroleum storage tank conventional the production of which does not require hydraulic fracturing,” says in addition to the document submitted to the MELCC.

We do not, however, specify if horizontal wells will be required for the operation. In the framework of the exploration work carried out over the past few years, Junex had created such drilling, including in the framework of its “production tests” which helped to recover a few thousand barrels of oil.

Oil and gas, including Investment Quebec is a shareholder, assesses that” a thirty producing wells will be needed ” to extract the oil. It is estimated, however, that the number of wells to be drilled could increase to thirty-seven, ” in order to take into account the technical uncertainties and geological “.

Consult the map of exploration permits and oil and gas in Quebec.

The drilling of each well “requires the use” of 150 000 litres of water, depending on what is stipulated in the Notice of project. This water will come from a levy authorized ” or ” re-use of the previous operations “. Assuming that the number of wells drilled is limited to thirty, the drilling may require 4.5 million litres of water.

In addition to the drilling sites, which ” will be located in places that are far enough from the water course “, the company plans to build a network of pipelines that will transport crude oil to a storage site located near route 198.

The project does not specify how will be then transported the oil, which is likely to be transhipped on board of tankers chartered by “different customers” who will buy the production. It was not possible Thursday to seek clarification from the company, which has not responded to calls and e-mails of the Duty.

In addition to oil production, the deposit of Galt will produce natural gas. Cuda Oil and gas has not yet decided how it will dispose of this gas, which is expected to be burnt during the ” production tests “, which generate greenhouse gas emissions. The idea of selling it, however, would be considered “very interesting” during the period of oil production business.

Opposition

As for the site referred to for the first oil exploration project, it is bordered of” exceptional forest ecosystems “, but also ” a project of refuge biological “. What’s more, the water courses of the area are located in the watershed of the York river, ” a salmon river important to the region.”

Is it that the government of the Coalition avenir Québec is in favour of oil development ? The office of the minister of Energy and natural Resources, Jonatan Julien, said on Thursday that the minister would be back in the office next Monday.

Groups of citizens in the region opposed the past several years to oil and gas projects in the Gaspé, a region coveted for over a century by the oil companies, but that has never produced oil on a commercial basis. According to the list of permitted oil and gas exploration the ministry of Energy and natural Resources, there are currently more than 21 580 km2 of permits in the area. The Galt project, which is the subject of an application for a production lease, a total of only 214 km2.

The environmental groups also oppose these projects for the extraction of fossil fuels. Contacted Thursday, the spokesman of Greenpeace, Patrick Bonin, has criticized the timing of publishing the documents on the project. “It is totally disrespectful and unacceptable that a public consultation is launched on 2 January, while the people and the municipal governments concerned are still on leave “, he said.

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