The BC Peace Region is fortunate with access to an abundance of energy resources. The unique climate and geographic location provides access to a variety of natural resources, which help provide light, power and heat for homes and businesses locally and around the world. Access to natural resources has also been a huge driving force behind the Peace area’s economic growth and sustainability, providing job opportunities and the chance to live in beautiful northeastern British Columbia.
Oil & Gas
Northeastern BC is part of the geologic hydrocarbon bearing area known as the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB). The Basin contains the vast majority of oil, gas and crude bitumen in Canada and is the only area of BC currently producing commercial quantities of oil and gas. There is an enormous supply of natural gas in Northeast BC – an estimated 2,933 trillion cubic feet – primarily in four key areas: the Horn River Basin, the Montney, the Liard Basin and the Cordova Embayment.
The face of the Oil & Gas industry in BC is changing as new opportunities in LNG (liquified natural gas) continue to be explored. Even while the largest of the LNG projects have yet to see final investment decisions, natural gas liquids separated from the gas after extraction are proving a valuable commodity. Additionally, significant increases in well productivity and low operating costs enable exploration companies to remain profitable, even in the face of lower natural gas prices.
Air Liquide operates an Air Separation Unit (ASU) in Dawson Creek. The plant, which was completed in 2012, supplies liquid nitrogen to oil and gas producers to support drilling operations and increase the oil and/or natural gas recovery rate. Upon opening, the facility employed three full-time operators as well as drivers, for a total of 10 permanent jobs. Phase two of the plant is expected to be operational in 2013.
ARC Resources Ltd
ARC’s assets in northeast British Columbia are located in the tight gas Montney resource play. The Montney is recognized as one of the best tight gas plays in North America, and ARC’s land holdings in the region are world class. ARC was an early entrant in the Montney, and pioneered the use of multi-stage fracturing for horizontal completions; a technology that has proved instrumental in unlocking the play.
Today, ARC is the third largest operator in the region and through its expertise has expanded its land holdings to almost 1,000 net sections. Key areas include Dawson, Parkland/Tower and Sunrise. The Montney is a key growth area with great potential for continued reserves and production additions. ARC is positioned to meaningfully grow gas and liquids (propane, butane, pentane) production in the near-term.
Natural gas exploration and development in the Dawson Creek and south Peace region of B.C. has increased the demand for clean, reliable electricity. The Dawson Creek/Chetwynd Area Transmission (DCAT) project will help to meet the demand by doubling the system capacity in the area. Included in the project are a new substation, expansions to two existing substations, and two new transmission lines.
In mid-November 2013, construction began on the DCAT transmission line, with the start of right-of-way clearing and access road construction. The project is expected to be completed in 2015, with an estimated in-service date of March 2016.
BC Oil & Gas Commission
The BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission) is an independent, single-window regulatory agency with responsibilities for overseeing oil and gas operations in British Columbia, including exploration, development, pipeline transportation and reclamation.
The Commission’s core roles include reviewing and assessing applications for industry activity, consulting with First Nations, ensuring industry complies with provincial legislation and cooperating with partner agencies. The public interest is protected through the objectives of ensuring public safety, protecting the environment, conserving petroleum resources and ensuring equitable participation in production.
Regulatory responsibility of the Commission extends from the exploration and development phases, through to facilities operation and ultimately decommissioning. It is charged with balancing a broad range of environmental, economic and social considerations.
Calfrac Well Services Ltd.
Calfrac Well Services is an Alberta-based pressure pumping company that continues to increase its presence in the Dawson Creek area. It specializes in fracturing, coiled tubing and other well stimulation services designed to increase production of hydrocarbons from wells. Calfrac has an existing 20,600 sq. ft. chemical storage and wash bay facility located in the Hansen subdivision on the west side of Dawson Creek. They continue to expand with plans for further development of their 40 acre parcel, including a maintenance facility and office spaces, in 2014.
Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL)
Canadian Natural is one of the largest holders of undeveloped land in British Columbia. Along with lowering and controlling costs, this land position combined with extensive infrastructure allows for low cost entry into the overheated market for natural gas resources, most notably in the Montney shales. The progress they have made in the Deep Basin Lower Doig/Montney play continues into the Northeast British Columbia Montney project at Septimus, which is now in the first phase of production. The Company will maximize its cost effective position by integrating the data with the right technology, and acquiring new land and assets that fit existing infrastructure.
An operator in the Peace region since the 1990s, Encana Corp. has facilities near Dawson Creek, Farmington, Tomslake and Pouce Coupe. The company is committed to the communities where their employees live and work. Encana gives back to communities through three funding pillars: environment, education and community life.
Encana has growth assets in the Montney area. These liquids rich and oil assets offer high returns, are comprised of high quality rocks, have significant running room and scale and create portfolio optionality. In addition to their core growth assets, Encana holds a significant collection of base and option value assets located throughout North America, including assets in the Horn River basin. Optimizing base production is another critical component of Encana’s operating and growth strategy.
Ferus Inc. is a privately-held Canadian company providing integrated solutions to the energy industry for well stimulation, well completions and enhanced oil recovery applications. Over the past few years, Ferus has invested in excess of $45 million in the Dawson Creek area through the construction of two liquid nitrogen facilities along with the associated transportation and storage equipment. During construction of its facilities, Ferus created 60 full time jobs in the region and carries on operations today with nearly 20 permanent staff working in the Dawson Creek area.
Murphy Oil teams worldwide are busy growing its reserves, adding value for its shareholders and providing jobs and economic stimulation to the communities in which they operate. They are engaged in crude oil and natural gas exploration and production in Western Canada. In the Montney tight gas resource play, they produce gas at their Tupper and Tupper West facilities. These plants serve the combined several hundred wells that are being drilled in the surrounding areas, and are connected to the plants via gas gathering system pipelines. Wells drilled in these areas use horizontal multi-stage fracturing technology.
Pengrowth is working towards their goal of becoming a sustainable energy producer through non-conventional energy projects. While investing in new thermal oil projects, they continue to maintain conventional oil and gas assets, such as those found in the Montney/Groundbirch areas. The Montney formation is one of the most economic gas resources plays in North America. Pengrowth has greater than 50 gross sections of Montney land with liquids content (C3+) ranging from 0-75 bbl/MMcf.
Progress Energy operates within some of the premier areas of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, including the Foothills of Northeast British Columbia. Focusing on the exploration of tight gas and Montney shales/silts, Progress has a growing reserve base of proved plus probable reserves and maintains a material land position in natural gas resource plays.
Shell collaborated with the City of Dawson Creek to build a reclaimed water facility that virtually eliminates the need to draw on fresh water for their operations in the area. The multi-million dollar facility provides a new source of revenue for the City of Dawson Creek as well as additional water for industrial and municipal uses.
Shell Groundbirch includes facilities for gas processing, water and fluid handling, 900+ kilometres of pipeline, four active drilling rigs and over 300 wells, which produce over 330 million standard cubic feet of raw gas per day (mmcfe/d).
Driven by the continued development of the Montney play, Spectra Energy built the Dawson Processing Plant to process raw natural gas from the South Peace region to meet the scale, scope and timing of their customers’ processing needs. The project involved the construction of a double train gas processing plant featuring inlet separation, compressor facilities, a vapour recovery unit, and a radio communications tower. Raw natural gas is processed at the plant, meaning that CO2, natural gas liquids and H2S are extracted. The processed sales gas are transported via a short connector to the NGTL Groundbirch Pipeline.
Spectra Energy and its partner company, BG Group, propose to build a 850-kilometre (525 mile) natural gas system originating from northeastern B.C. to serve BG Group’s potential liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Prince Rupert, on the province’s northwest coast.
The project will provide the required natural gas transportation capacity to meet the demands of a proposed LNG terminal on B.C.’s West Coast, in keeping with B.C.’s Jobs Plan and its goal of establishing LNG facilities by 2020. The project also will connect with the Spectra Energy system at Station 2 (southwest of Fort St. John), a growing natural gas hub that collects supply from multiple areas of the province and other supply basins in Western Canada.
The Peace Region is an important source of electricity for British Columbia. BC Hydro generates nearly 30% of its power through two generating stations on the Peace River, of which the G.M. Shrum station at the W.A.C. Bennett Dam is the largest generating over 13 billion kWh annually. Construction has begun on a third generating station on the Peace, known as Site C. The project will provide 1,100 megawatts of capacity and about 5,100 gigawatt hours of energy each year to the province’s integrated electricity system.
BC Hydro – W.A.C. Bennett Dam & the Williston Lake Reservoir
Williston Lake is the largest reservoir in B.C. It has a surface area of 1,773 square kilometers and took five years to fill. It flooded agricultural land, forests, homes and farms, aboriginal settlements, traplines and hunting areas. The W.A.C. Bennett Dam is the largest electricity source in British Columbia and is the controlling structure for the Reservoir. The dam is 186 metres high and 2,068 metres long along its crest. The electricity generated serves the local area and the coal mines of Tumbler Ridge, but the majority of customers are in the large population centres of the province in southern British Columbia.
The Bennett Dam was planned during the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was built from 1962 to 1965. It was constructed to provide relatively inexpensive electricity for the people and industries of a growing province, especially in the Lower Mainland. Construction was also expected to develop the economy of the Northeast corner of B.C. If a hydroelectric dam had not been built, a coal-fired generating plant probably would have been needed to meet growing demand for electricity.
The Peace River, on which the Bennett Dam sits, carries a large water flow from a drainage basin the size of the province of New Brunswick. The gorge of the Peace River near Hudson’s Hope offered the long drop needed to generate electricity. Just upstream, a wide valley provided a place for a huge reservoir. All of those features made the site ideal for generating large amounts of hydroelectricity. The construction employed 4,800 workers at its peak.
In 1988, the Peace/Williston Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program was established to conserve and enhance fish, wildlife and their habitat in the area.
To learn more: W.A.C. Bennett Dam Visitor Information
To learn more about Site C: https://www.sitecproject.com/
Renewable energy replaces itself and is usually available in a never-ending supply. Renewable energy comes from the natural flow of sunlight, wind, or water around the Earth. As long as sunlight, water and wind continue to flow and trees and other plants continue to grow, we have access to a ready of supply of energy.
Renewable energy comes in many forms. The main sources of renewable energy are: solar energy, wind energy, biomass energy, geothermal energy and moving water.
Why is renewable energy important today?
The last several years, the cost of natural gas, oil, and electricity has seen large fluctuations due to global economics, market deregulation, and political events in some parts of the world. Renewable energy is not subject to sharp price changes because it comes from sources such as sunshine, flowing water, wind, and biological waste, all of which are free. Renewable energy does not create air pollution, global climate changes or harm valuable watersheds. Renewable energy supplies will never run out. While the supplies of coal, oil, and natural gas are limited, sunshine, wind, biomass, and water power are considered almost limitless resources.
The City of Dawson Creek is at the forefront of the renewable energy sector being featured as a spotlight community on David Dodge’s Green Energy Futures. Check out more the blog post, video and podcast about Awesome Dawson Creek!
Peace Energy Cooperative
Dawson Creek’s local energy renewable energy organization is Peace Energy Cooperative (PEC). Peace Energy was started in 2002 and was incorporated as a cooperative in October 2003. The purpose of Peace Energy is to promote the development and adoption of renewable energy sources in the Peace Region. From the outset, the Directors involved in PEC were among the very first to recognize the tremendous opportunities that exist for the region in renewable energy sources, given the significant environmental and economic benefits associated with the development of renewable energy sources as well as the priority placed by government on renewable energy.
Major Renewable Energy Projects:
Bear Mountain Wind Park Partnership
As its first major project, Peace Energy has partnered with Aeolis Wind Power Corporation and AltaGas to form the Bear Mountain Wind Limited Partnership. The 102 megawatt project, located near Dawson Creek, is the first fully operational wind park in British Columbia.
The Co-operative’s first solar project was the Grid-Tie PV array for Don Pettit in Dawson Creek. The project included the installation of 23 solar panels on the Peace photoGraphics building. Since then, more than 10 other grid-tie projects have been completed in north eastern British Columbia. In four of those cases, more energy has been generated than was used by the facility, resulting in a cash pay back from the utility for the excess energy “stored” in the grid.
The Peace Energy Co-op also sells solar equipment, and has had an abundance of interest from the local community with respect to purchasing whole-house systems.
To learn more: http://peaceenergy.ca/completed-projects/
To learn more: Watt’s Happening? Blog