The news surrounding the hydrofracing and frac sand industry is dynamic, controversial, and apparently heedless of international borders. This week’s news has a distinctive Canadian flavor as fracing activities north of the border ran the gamut of topics and issues that have constituted U.S. fracing news for the better part of two years. While one major player in Canadian frac sand announced a profitable Q2, another confident player entered the game. While one Nickel giant inadvertently entered the frac sand market, another received a Grade-A for its stockpile of silica sand from the American Petroleum Institute. There was high drama as 10 Nova Scotia communities voiced their concerns over the surging Canadian fracing industry, a government official was derided for his pro frac sand appointee, and an Alberta First Nation group lost its bid to reclaim land slated for fracing production, but gained consultative privilege on future production. In short, this week’s news should sound strangely familiar to those who live in the “deep-south” fracing states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. It’s pretty much the same wherever it happens, eh?
New Canadian Player in the Frac Sand Game
Two years of preparation seems to have paid off for Toronto-based Claim Post Resources. Over that time, the company has been exploring a substantial frac sand deposit in Manitoba, and is now set to become a major supplier of white silica to both the U.S. and Canada.
Q2 Results Amount to Happy News for Canadian Firm
After a lull in production during some harsh winter months, Athabasca Minerals, Inc. of Alberta, bolstered its frac sand stockpile and is now sitting on an inventory with a net worth in excess of $10.3 million. This increased production, according to the company’s CEO, is the result of increased construction activities initiated in Q3 of 2013.
Increased Rail Traffic is a Boon or a Burden, Depending on Perspective
While many in Wisconsin and Minnesota are concerned by increased rail traffic brought on by the frac sand transport industry, Montreal’s Canadian National Railway is reveling in this newfound revenue source as the company announced an additional $200 million in earnings as the result of frac sand hauling.
Victory Mountain Adds More Frac Sand Expertise to Its Advisory Board
After acquiring Alberta Frac Sand earlier this year, British Columbia’s Victory Mountain has added an old pro in the field of frac sand development to its advisory board. Troy Sidloski, CET, joins the Victory Mountain board and in doing so, brings over 20 years’ experience in mining, processing, and shipping frac sand.
Victory Nickel Discovers Lucrative Diversification Opportunity
Toronto’s Victory Nickel, a world-leader in nickel ore production, may inadvertently enter the frac sand industry thanks to a recent find at its Minago mine. To tap into the underlying nickel ore, Victory Nickel needed first to remove a 10 meters thick layer of sandstone, which could bring the company millions on the frac sand market.
Hanson Lake Confident that its Frac Sand is among the Best
Though Ottawa White Sand might sound as though it originates from somewhere near the capital of Canada, it actually comes from near Ottawa, Illinois, the geographic center of the St. Peter sandstone. That’s okay, because Canada has its own high-grade sand. Saskatchewan’s Hanson Lake Sands Corp. has a stockpile of silica sand that the American Petroleum Institute graded on par with sands found in Texas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Public Concerns have No International Boundaries
As public concern over the risks of frac sand mining fuel debate in places like Wisconsin and Minnesota, the same drama is playing out in places like Nova Scotia. Public hearings on the risks of hydrofracing and frac sand mining came to a close this week in Whycocomagh, Nova Scotia, the last stop on the panel’s 10 community tour. The consensus reached by residents was also strikingly similar to those reached by people south of the border: more research and testing on the risks of hydrofracing are in order.
New Brunswick Energy Minister Defends His Appointee, Despite Fracing Conflict of Interest
With his appointee under scrutiny by the people of New Brunswick, Energy Minister Craig Leonard stood firm in his choice of Maurice Dusseault as the newest member of the province’s scientific advisory board on energy issues. Leonard, a known proponent of the province’s shale gas industry, was criticized for selection based on Dusseault’s ownership of patents for certain methods of hydraulic fracing.
Alberta First Nation Loses Bid against BC Oil and Gas, but Gains Consultative Rights
The Dene Tha, an Alberta First Nation, lost its bid against the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines, Nexen Inc., Penn West Petroleum Ltd., and Vero Energy Inc. The group claimed it was not adequately consulted on the sale of 21 parcels of land intended for shale gas fracing development. The presiding judge did, however, grant the Dene Tha consultative privileges before any future development can take place.