CAPP members establish new Guiding Principles for Hydraulic Fracturing


In early September, Canadian natural gas producers announced new guiding principles for hydraulic fracturing that guide water management and improved water and fluids reporting practices for shale gas development in Canada. The principles were created by members of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and apply to all CAPP natural gas producing members, large and small, operating in Canada.

“Protecting Canada’s water resources is fundamental to our social licence to operate and to grow,” said CAPP president Dave Collyer. “Canada’s upstream industry has a strong track record as a safe and reliable producer of natural gas. With the increase in natural gas production from unconventional sources such as shale, Canadians have told us they want more information as to how industry uses and protects water. We respect that request, and these CAPP principles articulate our water management objectives and water protection practices, as well as our focus on improving our water performance over time.”

CAPP’s guiding principles for hydraulic fracturing apply in all jurisdictions in which the upstream industry operates in Canada. They were created with the understanding that some provinces are working on regulation, and we expect the principles to complement potential future regulatory requirements.

CAPP’s Guiding Principles for Hydraulic Fracturing Canada’s shale gas and tight gas industry supports a responsible approach to water management and is committed to continuous performance improvement. Protecting our water resources during sourcing, use and handing is a key priority for our industry. We support and abide by all regulations governing hydraulic fracturing operations, water use and protection.

In addition, we commit to following these guiding principles for hydraulic fracturing.

We will safeguard the quality and quantity of regional surface and groundwater resources, through sound wellbore construction practices, sourcing fresh water alternatives where appropriate, and recycling water for reuse as much as practical.

We will measure and disclose water use with the goal of continuing to reduce our effect on the environment.

We will support the development of fracturing fluid additives with the least environmental risks.

We will support the disclosure of fracturing fluid additives.

We will continue to advance, collaborate on and communicate technologies and best practices that reduce the potential environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing.

Canada has abundant unconventional natural gas resources, including shale gas. Technological innovations, particularly horizontal multi-well pad drilling and hydraulic fracturing, have made it possible for industry to economically develop shale gas resources in tight rock formations. The application of hydraulic fracturing technology requires the use of significant quantities of water, which necessitates increased focus by industry on both water use and water quality.

“The Canadian natural gas industry supports all regulations that govern hydraulic fracturing, water use and water protection, because we recognize water is a valuable resource,” said Michael McAllister, executive Vice-President of Encana. “Strong regulations exist in regions of active unconventional gas development.

Similar regulations are being developed in regions with an emerging unconventional natural gas sector, to ensure protection of water resources and provide the public confidence that these resources are being developed responsibly.”

The guiding principles for hydraulic fracturing are available on CAPP’s website at . CAPP is also developing recommended practices to support the guiding principles for hydraulic fracturing. For example, a recommended practice describing CAPP member companies’ requirements for disclosure of fracturing fluid additives is under development. These recommended practices will be available on CAPP’s website as each is finalized.  

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. CAPP’s member companies produce more than 90 per cent of Canada’s natural gas and crude oil. CAPP’s associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream crude oil and natural gas industry. Together CAPP’s members and associate members are an important part of a national industry with revenues of about $100 billion-a-year. CAPP’s mission is to enhance the economic sustainability of the Canadian upstream petroleum industry in a safe and environmentally and socially responsible manner, through constructive engagement and communication with governments, the public and stakeholders in the communities in which we operate.