Exploring Phase 2 ESA Data through a PTAC-Awarded Project

North Shore has joined Waterline Resources Inc. to work on a Special Project awarded to us by PTAC, the Petroleum Technology Alliance Canada. The project has our companies working together to review drilling waste compliance documents prepared in 2014 by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).

The work requires a deeper look into Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) data from past drilling waste disposal locations, with hopes to better understand the effectiveness of the AER document Assessing Drilling Waste Disposal Areas: Compliance Options for Reclamation Certification.

Jim Purves, Technical Advisor.

“It’s a two-year project,” says Jim Purves, Technical Advisor, North Shore. “There are two phases; the first one will end in July 2020 and the second one will wrap up in March 2021,” he adds.

“The first phase involves data gathering and analysis from hundreds of sites. The second phase will spatialize the data using Geographic Information System (GIS), to determine geographic trends along with providing recommendations and proposed guideline adjustments.”

Jim says being selected as part of the project team is likely because North Shore has previously completed similar work and research internally.

“We are always looking for ways to accelerate the progression of our client’s sites towards reclamation certification. Prior to this PTAC initiative, North Shore internally reviewed 374 sites and ran statistical analysis to help identify relationships,” he explains.

“This process helped us understand trends in the data and ultimately make better decisions for our clients. PTAC and was curious about our findings and wanted us to work on this project, as we already understand the purpose and goal.”

Strong Working Relationship

Working with Waterline Resources is nothing new for North Shore, as we have often partnered with the company to complete past projects for our clients. Jim says he is one of the team leads along with Michelle Taylor, M.Sc., P.Eng., from Waterline.

“Data collection and analysis will be completed primarily by North Shore, while Waterline will be leading the GIS spatialization and statistical analysis portion of the project,” he adds.

Project Benefits

The intended outcome of this project is to determine if the compliance options: are appropriate as currently written, require adjustment to reduce false positive or negative triggers for Phase 2 ESAs, or are in need of other changes.

Reducing the conservatism in the compliance options is believed to have multiple benefits with the same environmental protection including; more accurate and reproducible compound calculations and DST assumptions, reduced number of unnecessary Phase 2 ESAs conducted, and accelerated progression of sites to reclamation certification.

It is also recognized that in certain cases there may be a need for a particular trigger/criteria to be more stringent; this will also be investigated as part of the project.

Jim has been with North Shore since 2013 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Economics and Policy from the University of Alberta, and earned his designation from the Alberta Institute of Agrologists as a P.Ag.

“I’ve been involved in thousands of Phase 1 and 2 ESAs over the span of my career and I’m excited to be part of refining the decision-making process and collaborating with industry and the regulator.”

Upcoming Presentation

To learn more about this project, join Jim Purves at RemTech, October 16-18, 2019, in Banff, AB, as he presents more in-depth on the scope and methodologies being applied.

More Information

Contact us to learn more about this Special Project, our Technical Resource Group, and how we can help with your next project.

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