A Calgary company is in the final stages of applying to drill an oil well within Calgary city limits. The edge of the proposed site will be just 130 metres from Royal Oak Shopping Centre. (Google)

Though many people in Calgary's Royal Oak and Rocky Ridge neighbourhoods work in oil and gas, some say a planned oil well for the northwest suburbs is too close to home — literally.

Concerned about the proximity of the well site to her family's home, Royal Oak resident Dawn Stewart penned a letter to Alberta Premier Alison Redford.

Redford responded to Stewart, writing that the proposed oil well has passed, or is passing, all regulatory hurdles.

Stewart, however, is unconvinced. Though both she and her husband work in the oil and gas industry, they don't think oil wells should be within city limits.

"We haven't been given a proper emergency response plan, and we're concerned about a drinking water line that goes just on the edge of the lease that Kaiser has purchased," Stewart said.

Kaiser Exploration Ltd. is an oil and gas exploration and development company that is applying to build the oil well.

Ned Beattie, general manger for the operation, said the installation will meet or exceed all safety requirements. He said a lot of community concerns are not well-grounded.

"I think there are a lot of people up there who are trying to defeat it, not on its merits but out of fear," he said.

Beattie said the well will be safe and well-screened.

"It would be somewhat hypocritical to say we don't want an oil well in this city when we have companies headquartered in this city which have drilled wells in Edmonton, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and other cities," he said.

Beattie said Kaiser will drill elsewhere within city limits if the conditions are right.

Jawad Durrani, a Rocky Ridge-Royal Oak Community Association member who has worked as an oil and gas engineer, said the province's drilling regulations are not designed for a suburban setting.

"Having an oil well out in the country is different from having an oil well inside your bedroom," Durrani said.

The edge of the land Kaiser owns is about 270 metres from the nearest home and 130 metres from a community shopping centre, said Stewart.


  • The first version of this story stated that Alberta Premier Alison Redford's letter was sent to the Rocky Ridge-Royal Oak Community Association. It was, in fact, sent to Royal Oak resident Dawn Stewart.
    Feb 05, 2012 12:48 AM MT