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Operating Responsibly in Peace River

  

Baytex commenced operations in the Peace River region in 2003. We have invested more than $1 billion acquiring, developing and operating our Peace River leases and these activities have generated approximately $250 million in royalties for the people of the Province of Alberta. Baytex will continue to produce the resources that it has leased in the Peace River area in an environmentally responsible manner, for the benefit of the community, the Province and the employees and shareholders of Baytex. Over the past three years, Baytex has spent approximately $50 million in the Peace River region on facility infrastructure improvement focused on the reduction of hydrocarbon venting.

The majority of Baytex's operations (and most industry activity) are in the northern portion of the Peace River region. In addition, Baytex has operations in an area called Reno, which is located approximately 35 kilometres south of the main development area.

Reno Background

In 2011, Baytex acquired the Reno oil field southeast of Peace River, which included approximately 40 wells that had been drilled between 2004 and 2010. While the existing production facilities met, and continue to meet, regulations, the existing facilities did not have all of the emission recovery equipment that Baytex employs in new wells and tanks. After drilling five new wells in the area, Baytex began to hear from residents that were concerned about the Reno operations and we suspended our drilling activities early in 2012. Baytex has been working very hard to implement solutions to minimize emissions in the Reno area. Listed below is a description of the enhancements that have been implemented to-date:

  • Implementation of Infrastructure Improvements - Baytex installed tank top vapour recovery systems, flares for system upset and tank top volumes, additional compression to gather casing gas for injection into the gathering system and capacity expansion for the existing gas gathering system. In order to further reduce venting and flaring, Baytex purchased an inoperative gas compression and dehydration facility, which we upgraded and installed additional compressor capacity. Baytex also proposed the construction of two new pipelines to connect the facility to the existing gas gathering system. One of the pipelines has been successfully constructed and has commenced operation. The second pipeline approval has not been received due to objections by local landowners.
  • Operational Practices Improvement - Baytex now utilizes produced gas for well site fuel rather than purchasing natural gas from the co-op system. This change reduced the amount of produced gas being vented from our operations. Baytex has also committed to shut-in any well where an equipment failure may result in significant venting of natural gas and off-lease odours. In addition, we have been working with industry to identify best practices on reducing emissions which can occur when loading and unloading oil hauling trucks.
  • Ambient Air Study - Summary Report
  • Air Quality Monitoring - Baytex engaged Chemistry Matters, an independent firm providing environmental and chemical consulting, to conduct a comprehensive air quality study in the vicinity of its heavy oil operations in Reno. Two other studies, one by Clearstone Engineering Limited and one by RWDI Air Limited examined the offsite odours and completed predictive modeling of offsite levels. Residents within the Baytex Reno field were invited to take part in the air quality study. No health-based objectives or screening levels were exceeded in any of the air samples collected. Please click on the report to the right for a summary of the Ambient Air Study.

Alberta Energy Regulator Proceeding

The Alberta Energy Regulator (the "AER") has established a panel of hearing commissioners to conduct a proceeding into odours and emissions associated with heavy oil operations in the Peace River area. The purpose of the proceeding is to examine the issues and concerns of Peace River area residents related to odours and emissions associated with heavy oil operations in the Peace River area. The proceeding will also provide a public process by which concerned stakeholders will be afforded a formal opportunity to have their views, concerns and advice considered by the Panel in completing its mandate. Baytex welcomes this proceeding, which will provide an additional opportunity for us to engage with the public about our operations in the area and our efforts to minimize environmental impacts. Baytex has made significant investments to enhance its operations and will continue to operate in an environmentally responsible manner for the benefit of all stakeholders.

AER Proceeding website link

Schedule:

PHASE 1: ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING
Written comments to the panel (for the organizational meeting) October 4, 2013 
Organizational Meeting  October 7, 2013
Written decision about scope and conduct of the proceeding  October 23, 2013 
PHASE 2: EXPERT SELECTION AND INFORMATIONAL GATHERING (WRITTEN)
Comments from parties on proposed experts and reports  October 30, 2013
Written coments on the issues within the scope of the proceeding  November 25, 2013
PHASE 3: SOLUTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS (WRITTEN)
Written comments on the potential recommendations for solutions within the scope of the proceeding December 13, 2013
Respond to and finalize solutions and recommendations January 10, 2014
PHASE 4: ORAL PROCEEDING
Oral proceeding  January 21, 2014

Baytex Proceeding Submissions

Third Party Reports

 

  
  

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