January 5, 2009 / 5:51 PM / 9 years ago

Blast damages fourth Western Canada gas well site

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Police are investigating what appears to be the fourth bombing of an EnCana Corp natural gas facility in the Western Canadian province of British Columbia, authorities said on Monday.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said workers for the country’s largest energy company found a partly destroyed metering shed at a well near Tomslake, in northeastern British Columbia, on Sunday.

No injuries or gas leaks were reported as a result of the explosion, south of Dawson Creek, near the Alberta provincial boundary.

“The well was shut in as a precaution. It’s a single-well site,” EnCana spokesman Alan Boras said. “Because of the incident, the site was turned over to the RCMP for investigation.”

Three other EnCana energy facilities in the region have been damaged by explosions since October, and police have yet to announce any suspects.

In early December, investigators appealed to the public for help.

They said the bombs could have been planted by one person acting alone or a group with some grievance toward the company. Police also said they believed the saboteur, or saboteurs, lived in the region.

Gas well valves and other equipment owned by other energy companies have also been vandalized and tampered with in recent weeks.

EnCana’s damaged wells produce gas from the Montney tight sands formation, one of a host of unconventional gas plays in North America that the industry has targeted for billions of dollars of investment.

All four were drilled within the last five years, Boras said.

Tight sands and shale gas deposits, located in such regions as British Columbia, Texas and Louisiana, are known for immense size, but require prolific drilling and expensive rock fracturing techniques to maintain production.

Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Peter Galloway

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