Black Spruce takes the reins in western N.L.

Ashley Fitzpatrick
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Company wants to settle discussion on fracking

Black Spruce CEO Dave Murray

The sounds of construction — hammering, buzzing and drilling — interfered with the TV cameras and radio recorders, causing Black Spruce Exploration’s CEO Dave Murray to start and stop in his responses to reporters Tuesday afternoon at the St. John’s Convention Centre.

Murray took all questions thrown at him, following a presentation to the Noia conference.

He patiently timed his responses between bouts of noise — offering up firm responses to questions on Black Spruce’s plans for western Newfoundland.

Specifically, he spoke about the company’s plans for hydraulic fracturing —fracking — of exploration wells.

The junior oil company wants to build the onshore and near-shore oil and gas industry in Newfoundland and Labrador, he explained.

Black Spruce Exploration has been gaining control over a large area, with a farm-in agreement with Shoal Point Energy, an agreement with Ptarmigan Energy to acquire access to more than 1.2 million acres offshore and a letter of intent signed with Enegi Oil for a farm-in on its holdings. The agreements would mean Black Spruce would take the lead in exploratory drilling.

Murray confirmed his company has not filed any project for environmental assessment at this point. That paperwork is a first step towards actually drilling and fracking a well.

“It’s been started. It hasn’t been filed,” he said.

                                                                                                  Continued on page 2 below...


Organizations: Convention Centre.Murray, Ptarmigan Energy, Enegi Oil Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources Kevin Heffernan Black Spruce board

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Colorado North Dakota Texas Pennsylvania

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • A. S. Morris
    July 28, 2013 - 17:44

    Right.....there is a great cost to the environment regarding fracking. Do your research. Why isn't this company fracking on the Avalon Penn? Huh? Why? Because the West Coast of Newfoundland consists of nothing but a bunch of Jack "o" tars and they don't care is the opinion in Sin John's.

  • Shoal Point Care taker
    July 08, 2013 - 18:33

    Hello People The development of Oil & Gas Industry in Western Newfoundland would be the end for that area. We know all about Fracking and What Industry has done to that area It would be devastating . I Fracked Wells In Fort St John BC, Horn River Basin, Farmington Bucking Horse ,Lady Ferm and many more in North Eastern BC, Its not worth the risk and many area's become contaminated just not allot of them have been investigated by the right people. There is lots of pollutions 100’s of Km’s in the Bush all over. Wells are drill and Frack most of them in the Winter be cause its all Muskeg (Pete moss). They Need to be frozen Ice roads are build and allot of places you cannot get to check them in the summer no way getting to them without a helicopter. Hey people once you frack and If are part of the Convoy on a Fracking mission you may never see that well it again so you don’t know the impact it has done and if you did know you have to be hush up paid off or jailed. There is no good drinking water in North Eastern BC. To much high Sulphur content and what ever else there is in it. Water has to be truck in. Why is the Horn River, Peace River and the Athabasca River Fish has Cancer tumours in them ? By the way if your streets had gas wells on both sides of them you still will never will not get any deals in price you pay at the pumps pricing will never change. That is control by the Petroleum Board. Also we have the Largest Dairy Milk Farm East of Quebec. We don’t get deals on milk prices that is control by the milk marketing board. Atlantic Minerals has a huge limestone mine the people that live near there get No deals. If they want to buy gravel They pay full price. They feel the affects from blasting and all basements around there has many hairline cracks in them. I can go on with many things . Oil and Gas industry. Will bring a few jobs in the beginning and that will be it long term just 4 or 5 gas operator Jobs and environments that will go threw many changes. That we and Generations to come have to live with forever. I will do what ever I can to Stop Fracking. Newfoundland is doing good. We have muskrat Falls. We don’t want competition with the Oil and Gas Industry. Clean Energy is the way to go. Wind mills And Solar panels are examples

    • david
      July 13, 2013 - 07:10

      Hello people. The preceeding post is a load of opinionated, fact-free drivel. Carry on.

  • Newfie Geologist
    July 03, 2013 - 04:07

    Fracking technology has come a long way in the past 10 years. It has become a commercial success in many oil-producing areas of the world. I have participated in about 80 wells that have been fracked in Alberta and have only seen 1 problem occurring in which the fracking caused unwanted communication with a nearby well. (Fracking solution was forced up onto the ground at this nearby well). Alberta’s geology is relatively safe for fracking as it’s geological formations are relatively flat with little faulting occurring. Faulting of the rock formations can lead to open communication with the groundwater above as well as with the ground surface. Unfortunately for Western Newfoundland, (whose geology I am also very familiar with), the rock formations are not flat but are tilted at an angle for the most part and are heavily faulted. Thrust faults are prevalent in Western Newfoundland and the resultant fracking of the rocks within is an unknown as to if they will provide unwanted communication with the groundwater or the ground surface. Directional/horizontal drilling under the province’s shallow bays (such as is being done at Shoal Point) is extremely disturbing since any leakage from fracking will be difficult if not impossible to arrest. We could have another BP-type oil disaster on our hands. More study needs to be done but unfortunately the only way to tell if fracking is safe in Newfoundland is to actually do it and hope for the best. It is a risky operation at best. Monies should be in place by these oil companies to allow for possible oil-spill disasters and local area residents should have the last say as to whether they want this type of oil-production procedures to go ahead in their backyard. After all, they will either reap the rewards of oil production or suffer the extreme losses of possible disasters that could ruin their homeland.

  • royrowsell
    June 24, 2013 - 18:29

    cindy I have studied it and massively researched it. I have been too many sessions those antifracker have put on and have seen and heard them repeat over and over things that they know is wrong. Nothing wrong with stressing concerns but been narrowed sighted and distorting the truth is what i dont like. I have copy of many articles on both sides of the fracking and really easy to see those people giving the sessions here are basically fear mongering. will share my research if you like email me

  • david
    June 24, 2013 - 07:08

    See, you people are going about this in the classic Newfoundland way....not bothering to aim and just firing away. It's pathetic. The issue to take on here is not "fracking".....that war is being fought by far smarter, better informed people than you...and it will likely be eventually lost. The most relevant issue here is whether a little company like Black Spruce Exploration, with limited experience, expertise and resources, should be trusted to do this work competently and safely, or trusted that they can afford to fix any problems they cause. Quite likely not. Give your heads a an Etch-a-Sketch......and start over. So far, this has been a useless, embarrassing spectacle.

  • Kathy
    June 23, 2013 - 22:59

    Over 200,000 wells and not one issue with ground water or the environment... Do you seriously believe that? Those of us who are concerned about this issue are not against all development ...we DO have serious concerns about hydraulic fracturing and how safe it is. Fracking is a technology that has NOT been proven safe. And as time goes by, evidence that it is not safe is mounting, not only in Canada but all over the world. And it's not just about the safety of our water, it also very much about air quality, how methane gas burning from flares will affect our health, and how poisons such as benzene, toluene and radioactive isotopes that could be released into our atmosphere and environment with the the produced water will pose serious health risks. The question of how to deal with the produced wastewater hasn't been properly answered. Our concerns are very legitimate. They need to be addressed now, not later when it's too late. Jessica Ernst,an ex-oil patch consultant just released a comprehensive report on water contamination in Canada caused by fracking. Check it out:

    • david
      June 24, 2013 - 07:01

      Here's an equally ludicrous question back at you" If the "evidence is mounting" (though why it has to "mount" instead of being plainly obvious after hundreds of thousands of wells drilled ---- that seems to present serious doubt in your premise on its own, but anyway.... ), do you think any government regulator, or energy companies, or their insurance providers would not put an immediate end to it? It's always funny how the most supremely knowledgeable experts on any subject are the ones furthest from any access to factual information. And the world's most vocal pool of such experts is here in Newfoundland.

    • Tim Jamison
      June 25, 2013 - 13:07

      There sure is a lot of "experts" here. I hope Maurice Adams and his crazy conspiracy website are still crying in the shower. Expert rabble rousers is all they are

    • A
      August 01, 2013 - 13:25 are right on. It seems Newfoundand is expendable. In other words not worth keeping or maintaining for our children and grandchildren. How greedy and non caring.

  • mellie
    June 23, 2013 - 11:42

    If we get any more oil in nl. we might as well park our cars we will never afford to drive them .133 in Stephenville cant take to much more good news oil finds..

  • Cindy
    June 22, 2013 - 15:57

    Its time to put the environment first, and consider the health of people, animals and marine life. I don't think we ever elected our government so they could "take a gamble" on our future to receive oil revenue. Fracking has many risks, and there is overwhelming evidence. As a resident of the West Coast, I say "No" to Fracking, and I will do everything in my power to stop this. We all have a right to clean water, a clean environment.

  • Lawrence Clarke
    June 20, 2013 - 15:06

    Wavy/Jessical: It sounds like all of you are against all development in Newfoundland. Why are you afraid of work or are you small business owners that don't want to compete with larger companies for higher paying jobs. None of you have heard of fracking until Shoal Point Energy proposed hydraulic fracking at Shoal Point and now you all think your experts. Fracking is safe, if it wasn't they would be no hydraulic fracking anywhere. Over 200000 wills have been fracked in Western Canada and the USA in the last 10 years with no issues to the ground water and environment. There are always people that will complain about any development or any other thing. DO you think that the Government of Canada and the USA would permit Hydraulic Fracking if there were environment issues, you may but 100s of millions of others don't. Come on Newfoundland Approve the drilling of oil wells in Western Newfoundland and bring the young work force back to Newfoundland. How are you going to keep the Culture of Newfoundland if you keep losing the young people to other provinces like is the case in the last 50 years. The population of Newfoundland is getting old and families are not having 6-12 chlidren any more, you lucky if they have 2. Development is progress and population growth. If you can't keep Newfoundlanders in Newfoundland then where are your work force going to come from when more then 50% of the work force will retired in the next 15 years. I guess you can import people from around the world but Newfoundland wouldn't be Newfoundland anymore, would it. Newfoundland needs more higher paying employment jobs

  • royrowsell
    June 20, 2013 - 09:57

    onewolf makes great points. It totally surprises me that university profs , doctors and educated people can run off at the mouth and boldface lie to people on their concerns on this fracking issue with respect to fracking for oil on the west coast. They have a ability to research and still they deceive. Cannot wait . BSE bring it on.

    • Cindy
      June 22, 2013 - 16:06

      ROYROWSELL, how are you an expert in all of this???? So you know more than the doctors, university profs, and David Suzuki??? I think you should do some research, there is overwhelming evidence that fracking DOES pollute the environment. And if the people that live here have concerns, They have every right to voice their concerns and protect the land and environment.

    • Tim Jamison
      June 25, 2013 - 13:03

      Suzuki was discredited long ago, repeatedly. He's old news for those of us who pay attention to multiple news sources, not just the telegram. Then there was the texan "fracking expert" who, recently while under oath, admitted that everything she said was a lie, the studies, her credentials, everything. good thing we have sunnews or none of us would have ever seen her here, not here in NL anyway. fracking hurts nothing. it creates jobs and makes economies healthy and that's why unions/liberals/the media party fight it. unions need damaged economies or they die. people turn their backs on unions if desperation isn't there.

  • Jessica
    June 20, 2013 - 07:32

    The fracking they did in pennsylvania did serious damage to the water supply and severly hurt the local populations health, they're still deny it. But oil and by product got into the local water shed.

    • A. S. Morris
      July 28, 2013 - 17:59

      From Alberta...Suzuki certaintly has NOT been discredited ever. He is an expert on the environment. Who has told you that? It is the Federal Government that tries to discredit Suzuki and for what reason? They don't have the where fore all to think in the 21st Century with new innovation and it isn't fracking either. Do your own research and think for yourself. Companies do NOT tell the truth...they are only interested in capitalism which allows people to plainly do nothing but steal. Does the Solution to Climate Change Rest On Economic Reform? It certainly does but it doesn't seem as if it is much concern in Newfoundland. You have a pristine environment in Nfld...and you ought to be retaining it by making companies such as this tow the line using the technology available and fracking doesn't fit the bill. All through history, companies have put place techniques that have later been proved to be detrimental to people and the environment. Is Newfoundland going to benefit from this fracking? Is the oil going to remain in Newfoundland for Newfoundland use? I doubt it very much unless you people stand up for yourselves loud and clear.

  • Mark
    June 19, 2013 - 15:49

    They won't need fracking permits for 12 wells proposed on enegi oil s licenses as they are conventional plays.

  • Lonewolf
    June 19, 2013 - 14:09

    I hope that they do an indept study of fracking and keep it honest then once and for all the people will see there is nothing wrong with it. They say it causes earthquakes yet there are 200,000 wells drilled in the area I live in and not one earthquake. The people that are trying to stop progress in this province are using things that happen for other reasons and blaming it on fracking. There has been earthquakes in southern BC where there is no fracking, the earthquakes are caused by the fault that follows the whole west coast from BC to California, whether there is fracking or not this is going to happen. I am not a shareholder, I am a Newfie living away and whether this goes ahead or not I have nothing to lose or gain because by the time this goes ahead I will be retired. I am for fracking because of the out migration of people and I know what is told to you people is all untrue. The chemicals used are no top secret like these people are saying and at the depth you are going poses no threat, if it was endangering water supply then how come the oil that is in the ground isn't. Everytime something starts to get off the ground in western nfld some people tries to put a stop to it. It is time for people to realize that nfld is not just a city in the east but a province right across. If you don't believe in fracking for oil then stop driving your cars and heating your house. Do your own research and talk to actual workers who do this for a living and stop listening to other people.

  • good luck
    June 19, 2013 - 13:08

    get your $1B if you are going to the offshore!!!

  • wavy
    June 19, 2013 - 12:44

    I'm telling you right now, the province will live to regret the day they allow fracking to proceed in this province. I take issue with the extremely offensive manner in which Black Spruce and Shoal Point are presumptively and arrogantly muscling their way along, setting wheels in motions, making plans to frack in Newfoundland. What they are essentially saying is, one way or another, we are GOING to make this happen, goddamnit, yet to date they (supposedly) haven't so much as a single shred of authorization from the provincial government. Their passive-aggressive pressure tactics are deplorable. Telegram, now that we've heard from the prospective frackers, how about an in-depth, front-page feature outlining the history, potential risks and perils of fracking as they apply to this province? Like Muskrat Falls, this issue requires dissemination of clear, concise information to the public and I'm not holding my breath waiting for the Dunderdale government to do that. Tom Marshall can go to Saskatchewan all he wants; he's leaving politics so its not like he's going to be around to be held accountable for any wayward decisions.

    • A.S. Morris
      July 28, 2013 - 18:05 are dead on. People here on the Prairies now exactly what is happening with Fracking and it ain' t nice.