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Encana Corp. taps water from former float plane base

Water will be used in fracking operations tied to the South Central Liquids Hub, currently under construction in Tomslake
The 4,000-foot man-made float plane base behind the Dawson Creek Airport hasn't been used in at least five years. Now, Encana Corp. reclaiming the water for use in tracking operations.

Primed to drill four new frack wells south of Dawson Creek this winter, Encana Corp. is once again looking to the city’s former float plane base as a source of water. 

City Council approved the company’s proposal to draw water for use in gas drilling operations from the 4,000-foot man-made lake located behind the Dawson Creek regional airport this week. Encana plans to pump the water  to a proposed reservoir about six miles away. 

The company has drawn water from the now defunct float plane base before, as recently as last year.

Spokesperson Brian Lieverse said the water is needed for the four new wells, which will feed into the company’s South Central Liquids Hub currently under construction in Tomslake.

“This gives us the opportunity to pump the water versus having to truck it,” he said in an interview. “We have a new target zone within our Montney play here that we’re looking to develop to see how it pans out.”

Lieverse said Encana plans to drill even more wells in the spring, but that those plans have not been finalized.

At the request of council, Mayor Dale Bumstead said he would approach the company about sourcing work for the project from local suppliers. 

Water was first drawn from the former float plane base for oil and gas operations in 2010. This reduced the “runway” area from 5,000 to 4,000 feet. Chief Administrative Officer Jim Chute said the waterway’s depth has been reduced, making it unsafe for planes to land there. 

The base was established in 1964 and is one of only two man-made water bases in Canada. The other is located in Quebec.