The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) on Monday published hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operating practices for shale and tight natural gas development to improve water management, as well as water and fluids reporting, across the country.

Whether the internal oversight of its member producers — which produce more than 90% of Canada’s gas and oil — is preemptive or not may be in the eye of the beholder. Last year Canada’s environment minister indicated that the federal government was keeping a close eye on fracking and was prepared to intervene if it thought provincial or territorial governments weren’t doing enough to safely regulate the procedure (see Shale Daily, June 22, 2011). Three months later the Canadian government launched two separate studies on the science of fracking and its potential impact on the environment (see Shale Daily, Sept. 27, 2011).

“The hydraulic fracturing operating practices demonstrate the Canadian natural gas industry’s continued efforts to ensure responsible resource development and protection of Canada’s water resources,” said CAPP President Dave Collyer. “Applying these new operating practices will contribute to improving our environmental performance and transparency over time, both of which contribute to stronger understanding of industry activity and better relationships with the public, stakeholders and government.”

CAPP unveiled “Guiding Principles for Hydraulic Fracturing” last fall. The principles provide information for gas producers on sound wellbore construction, fresh water alternatives, recycling methods, voluntary water reporting, fracking fluid disclosure and technical advancement and collaboration. The latest operating practices, developed by CAPP gas producers, are to support the guiding principles for fracking and to strengthen the industry’s focus on continuous performance improvement.

CAPP expects the fracking practices to “inform and complement regulatory requirements.” CAPP members are asked to support a “responsible approach to water management” and be “committed to continuous performance improvement.” Protecting water resources during “sourcing, use and handling is a key priority for our industry.” Producers were asked to abide by these operating practices:

All of the operating practices are to be publicly available, according to CAPP.

“The establishment of Canada-wide hydraulic fracturing principles and practices is part of the natural gas industry’s ongoing efforts to ensure safe development of Canada’s shale gas resources,” Collyer said. “Shale gas can and is produced responsibly every day across Canada and the United States with almost 200,000 wells fractured in Western Canada over the last 60 years. With increased focus on fracturing from coast-to-coast, the Canadian industry wants to be at the forefront of transparency and to establish clear and consistent practices across the country.”