Petroleum Services Alliance of Canada (PSAC) president Mark Salkeld was in Estevan and Carlyle on October 9 and 10 to speaking about the importance of hydraulic fracturing and other issues facing the oil sector.
Salkeld spoke at the Estevan Chamber of Commerce's monthly meeting on the 9th, where he explained PSAC's mission and its mandate to conduct itself in way that is beneficial for communities.
There's a lot of information about there about hydraulic fracturing, Salkeld said, and PSAC wants the public to know the facts.
"They've asked us to go out there and explain what they do, but also to ask the communities, and representatives in the communities (about their thoughts)," Salkeld said.
"We're not defending it. We're telling them that 'We've been doing it for a long time, and we're very good at it, but we respect your concerns and want to hear from you.'"
PSAC has had five to seven similar community consultations in B.C. and Alberta thus far, Salkeld said, and he was looking forward to receiving input from the Estevan Chamber's members.
"The message that we've heard to date is 'Thank you very much for coming and talking to us about this process; we understand it a lot better, and the concerns about noise and traffic and water usage,'" said Salkeld.
Water usage, and the recycling process and contamination of the water, have been common concerns, he said. PSAC will bring experts on the matter to their consultation meetings.
"A lot of people don't realize that water is highly regulated right across Canada," said Salkeld. "Our member companies can't just pull up to a slough, or a lake or a river, and start taking whatever water they want. It all has to be licensed and approved, and it's controlled."
Hydraulic fracturing is a well-known practice in the oil sector in communities like Estevan and Carlyle. But Salkeld said PSAC hasn't shied away from visiting cities and towns that aren't as receptive to the fracturing concept.
Salkeld said the community consultations have been a respectful setting with dialogue among the different parties.
People have been boisterous with their concerns, he said, and they have voiced their opposition to PSAC representatives after the meetings. But some of the most contentious sessions have produced some of the most thoughtful conversations, and they have yielded strong feedback.
PSAC is equally focused on both the oil and natural gas sectors, he said, because the process involved in fracturing is the same.
"We're breaking rock to improve the flow of oil or gas to the production surface," said Salkeld.
The premise of the consultations is to develop a code of conduct that their companies will sign on to, and stand behind. The launch of the code will happen at the end of October.
Once he was finished in Estevan, Salkeld was in Carlyle, where he attended an annual event organized by several PSAC member companies. The public, politicians, land owners and area residents were in attendance.
PSAC also delivers quarterly drilling activity forecasts, and their forecast for 2014 will be released at the end of the month. Salkeld said a focus group is going to meet after Thanksgiving, and at that time, they will begin the process of analyzing and preparing for the forecast.
While specifics of the report can't be announced just yet, Salkeld said PSAC members are looking forward to what should be a steady year.