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  1. It does “cause a certain level of concern”. Lots of natural gas deposits are ‘sour’, ie: they contain significant amounts of hydrogen sulphide, which is highly toxic. Sour gas drilling is an extra hazard to those working on the drill rigs & those living nearby.

    Before sour goes to the user the H2S is removed & converted to elemental sulphur. Around here there are lots of gas plants with sulphur piles that grow when the price of sulphur is low & shrink when it’s high.

    There had been a proposal to drill some sour gas wells just outside of the city here, but the opposition from nearby residents seem to have killed it.

    Jim Baerg

    51° N 114° W

  2. Jim:

    Thank you for the information. I would imagine that drilling companies are pretty good at predicting whether or not a particular field is “sour”, but I would love to hear more. Something that would concern me as a nearby resident of a drilling project is the answer to the question – “how do you know” whether or not to take extra precautions? What kinds of measures need to be implemented to handle this kind of deposit safely? How reliable are they? What happens if they fail? How do we know that the people actually doing the drilling are following the right procedures? Who is the safety regulator?

    Finally, what happens if the price of natural gas is high enough to bring in the wildcatters and speculators? Does the situation change if there is a “boom” in the area with a drilling “frenzy”?

  3. Here in Alberta the industry is regulated fairly safely & the nearby residents get told about what’s happening. In places where the residents near the well have little political clout it’s likely they don’t. Here the regulation is mostly through the Alberta Energy & Utilities Board.

    Here workers on the rigs go through H2S safety courses, but I expect there is a problem during a boom with having inexperienced workers who don’t know all the proper proceedures.

  4. This string caught my attention, but still a little surprised there isn’t as many comments as I expected. I’ll keep checking back since this is a hot topic for me personally.

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