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Geothermal operation south of Valemount OK’d

The BC Oil and Gas Commission (Commission) has issued geothermal resource well authorizations to Borealis Geopower Inc. for four thermal gradient wells on its Canoe Reach Geothermal Project, south of Valemount.

Borealis Geopower Inc. is a renewable geothermal energy company based in Calgary, Alberta with plans to drill geothermal wells to produce renewable power and heat. The well authorizations will allow the company to begin drilling for collection of geotechnical and temperature gradient information.

Geothermal energy is the heat contained within the rock and fluids in the earth’s crust. It can be used directly to provide heat, or indirectly to produce electricity. High temperature geothermal resources with a temperature at surface in excess of 80°C can be used to produce electricity and are governed by the Geothermal Resources Act. Generally, a viable high temperature geothermal resource has three characteristics: Heat, water, and permeability in the heat reservoir

The commission issued the well authorizations on May 29 and it represents the first time the commission has issued a well authorization under the Geothermal Resource Act. The commission was made the provincial regulator of geothermal resources on March 31, 2017.

The Geothermal Resources Act governs development and use of geothermal resources (80 degrees Celsius and above) and the Commission has jurisdiction over the operational requirements. The commission is the provincial single-window regulatory agency responsible for regulating oil and gas operations in B.C., and has direct authority over technical aspects of geothermal resource authorizations, such as wells and facilities. Companies are required to work through other agencies, such as the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to gain permits for related geothermal activities, such as tenure and land access.

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