Calgary energy firm fined $80,000 over well-site water management

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Calgary energy firm Tamarack Acquisition Corp. will pay an $80,000 fine after pleading guilty to one charge related to the removal of groundwater at a drilling site in central Alberta.

The company was first charged in March under the provincial Water Act for using water without the approval of the Alberta Energy Regulator and failing to properly monitor the use of water it was withdrawing for its operations near the village of Veteran between January 2017 and April 2018.

Tamarack pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to properly record its water use. Two other charges were withdrawn.

Tamarack is a subsidiary of Tamarack Valley Energy Ltd.

An agreed statement of facts posted on the AER website states Tamarack relied on past procedures and resources, including a third-party contractor, for water management after acquiring oil and gas assets around Veteran in January 2017. The company took steps to immediately address concerns and developed a “more robust” system for water use by September, it states.

The Alberta Energy Regulator said the drilling area, about 200 kilometres east of Red Deer, is home to diverse wetlands, waterfowl and wildlife.

“This region does not replenish water lost easily as most water introduced into the region comes from precipitation, few wetlands are connected via watercourses and groundwater recharges slowly,” according to an agreed statement of facts.

The penalty includes a $2,000 fine and $78,000 to be directed toward projects that educate landowners and other non-industry stakeholders on using water for energy development, the AER said.

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