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The Abandoned Gas Well “Discovered” at Site C

In February 1967, well #WA 02082 10-10-083-19-W6M was drilled to a depth of 6157 feet and then abandoned later that same year. No thought was likely given to the notion that BC Hydro would attempt to build a hydroelectric dam at that very spot some 40 years later.

Figure 1 Photo taken February 17, 2018 |Arrow pointing to #WA02082

As is common in the oil and gas industry, ownership of the well changed hands many times since 1967. Currently, ownership rest with CQ Energy Canada Partnership who operates as a subsidiary of Canlin Energy Corporation.

For the 2012 Site C Environmental Impact Statement, this well was identified as being within the proposed reservoir study area for BC Hydro. However, the September 13, 2017 Alaska Highway News reported that according to BC Hydro officials: “The well, abandoned in 1967 on the south bank of where dam construction is underway, was discovered by BC Hydro in 2016”. Hmm. That is interesting.

Meanwhile, the word on the streets of Fort St. John was that in summer of 2017, a contractor working at the dam site with heavy equipment hit the well casing that was not marked or identified as being there. Of course this would be serious business, but it was not the official story that went out.

While the BC Hydro Quarterly Progress Reports to the BC Utility Commission made no reference to this well site issue, the Oil and Gas Commission were notified and involved in dealing with this problem.

However, sharing of information at the regional level was not very transparent. At the September 6, 2017 Regional Community Liaison Committee meeting, a member asked “what type of fluid is in the well and what happened with the well?” The BC Hydro spokesperson explained that BC Hydro did not have that information available but that the information would be provided to the Committee. He confirmed that the OGC was aware of the issue and that BC Hydro would look at inviting the OGC to a future