Quicksilver Resources Canada Inc. intends to drill 10 more sweet gas wells in Red Deer County south of the city of Red Deer boundary.
Two of the wells will be located in the city’s future growth area, the closest one to the city located about three km southeast of the city’s waste management facility.
In January, Quicksilver notified the city of its plans to drill eight wells south of the city, including three in the same future growth area.
On Wednesday, the city’s municipal planning commission approved the plan for 10 wells.
Jim Benum, Red Deer’s oil and gas liaison, told the commission the intent is for the company to develop the gas resources before the city starts developing the area.
“That’s why you see so many wells proposed at one time,” Benum said on Wednesday.
“We try to encourage companies if they are going to develop close to the city to do it as quick as possible.”
Zoning for the future growth area, whether it’s residential, commercial or industrial, is not known at this time.
City development is not expected in the area for about 40 years.
The Quicksilver proposal was circulated to several city departments (Engineering, Parks, Electric Light and Power, Environmental Services and Planning) to consider the impact it may have on future urban development.
The expected lifespan of a well is about 20 years and there is no provincial requirement for companies to abandon wells, for example when city development begins.
Quicksilver will enter into a consultation and process agreement with the city that encourages ongoing communication and to address specific concerns related to the development.
Benum said Red Deer County has no objections to Quicksilver’s newest plans.
Most of the wells will be located within the area designated as agriculture or open space.
The wells are shallow sweet gas wells, about 750 metres deep, and Quicksilver plans to drill them this winter. The wells will connect to an existing gas gathering system.
City Coun. Lawrence Lee was the lone MPC member who did not support the newly proposed wells and pipelines.
He said there should be an agreement in place to better protect the growth of the city.
“I have seen in the past where we’ve had difficulty dealing with pipelines and companies that are now in the city,” Lee said.