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Order under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act for Obsidian Energy

On Thursday, March 23, 2023, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) issued an Environmental Protection Order under sections 113 and 241 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) for Obsidian Energy Ltd (Obsidian). The AER has issued this order due to a series of induced seismic events that occurred between November 29, 2022, and March 16, 2023, in the Peace River region.

An investigation conducted by the Alberta Geological Survey (AGS), a branch of the AER, has concluded that Obsidian’s disposal operation induced the seismic events. The disposal operation includes a well authorized for the disposal of water via injection into the Leduc Formation. The unique geological features of the area also contributed to the seismic events.

While there is no evidence of damages or injuries from these events, this Order and subsequent investigation reflects our commitment to Albertans to ensure safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development. The Order is intended to prevent future events and protect Albertans.

Under the order, Obsidian must

  • submit plans and take actions acceptable to the AER to reduce the frequency and magnitude of the events.
  • establish seismic monitoring in the surrounding area that detects events above a local magnitude of 2.0 ML.
  • install accelerometers at strategic locations within a 10 km radius of the disposal operation to measure vibration.

Investigation timeline:

November 29, 2022  

  • Seismic events are reported approximately 40 kilometres (km) SE of the town of Peace River, AB, including one event with a local magnitude earthquake of 5.59 ML 

December 2022

  • AGS sets up a seismic nodal array around the epicentre of the seismic events. 

January to March 16, 2023 

  • AGS monitors and conducts research and analysis to investigate the cause and correlations and determine if regulatory intervention is required. 

March 16, 2023 

  • A seismic event is reported approximately 42 km SE of Peace River, AB, with a local magnitude of 5.09 ML

March 17, 2023 

  • AGS received new information from the seismic nodal array and determined the seismic events that occurred related to the disposal operation. 

March 23, 2023