Supporting the community, sustaining our future.

CBM Drilling in Your Community

Minimizing our CBM operational impact in your community is front-of-mind to everyone who works at Ember. We’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions outlining the measures we undertake to protect the best interests of our stakeholders.


Does CBM development require additional permanent roads and power lines?

Ember employs minimum disturbance practices when drilling and operating CBM projects, greatly reducing the need for additional roads. Completed CBM well sites measure 10′ x 10′; crops can be grown right up to the wellhead enclosures. Ember’s Horseshoe Canyon CBM wells produce very small amounts of water; therefore bottom-hole pumps and associated surface equipment are not required.

Does Ember ever use existing wellbores to produce CBM?

Existing wells can be completed for CBM production if the wellbore is mechanically suitable for re-completion. Ember commingles CBM and conventional shallow gas production from current and future wells, minimizing the number of wellbores required to produce the shallow natural gas reserves in the area.

How many compressor stations will be required?

CBM pipelines are operated at very low pressures so production requires a significant amount of compression power. Ember’s preference is to install a large central compression site capable of handling the production from many sections of wells. Satellite compression may be required where there are limitations to gas gathering systems.

How much noise can we expect?

Ember is committed to compliance with all industry standards with respect to noise, emissions and safety. CBM operations create no more noise than conventional shallow gas operations. Ember follows all Alberta legislated standards.

How much traffic is involved in CBM development? What are Ember’s dust control measures?

Local traffic increases during the drilling and completion operations, normally one week per well. When drilling, completion and tie-in operations are finished, the wells will require, on average, one visit per month by a pickup truck. Ember utilizes water spraying as the primary dust control method and alternately employs other dust control methods, as allowed by county regulations.

How much water will these CBM wells produce?

Horseshoe Canyon CBM reservoirs do not contain significant volumes of moveable water. Ember’s CBM wells produce very small amounts of water, primarily as water vapor in the gas. Consequently, produced water storage and disposal from well sites is not required.

How will Ember protect my water wells?

Ember follows all regulatory recommendations by the AER. We offer to test all water wells within a 600 m to 800 m radius of the proposed CBM well prior to any operations being conducted. The purpose of this test is to establish groundwater baseline properties, which serve as a point of comparison in the unlikely event that there is a change in water quality or quantity. This process protects both the users of local water resources and the CBM industry.

Will the gas migrate to the surface or into water wells or fresh water aquifers?

CBM gas in this area is held in place by impermeable rock barriers, therefore, the gas can only travel to the surface through wellbores. During drilling, the wellbore is completed with two casing strings which are both cemented in place to isolate groundwater resources from productive CBM horizons. This ensures there is no contact between aquifers and CBM production.

Ember has developed CBM specific drilling and completion techniques to ensure regulatory and environmental compliance and minimize any potential short- or long-term effects to the local water resources.

Will there be flaring?

The completion process uses nitrogen, an inert gas, to stimulate the wells. Venting and flaring are required to remove the nitrogen and bring the methane concentrations to pipeline specifications. Recent technology developments have greatly reduced the average time and amount of gas being vented and flared.

What types of greenhouse gas emissions does CBM flaring produce?

The combustion products from burning CBM are the same as those from a household furnace. CBM test flaring produces much lower greenhouse gas emissions due to the high methane content of the gas, the comparatively low flow-back rates and relatively short flare duration.

What about other gas emissions from CBM flaring?

Flaring emissions have been studied at the University of Alberta on behalf of the Government of Alberta and the Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA). Detailed study of the emissions from CBM and shallow gas flaring indicated that “toxic emissions (such as PHA, BTEX, Formaldehydes)” are not emitted in measurable amounts even under conditions of low combustion efficiency.