The Quebec government continues to cast doubt on the future of the shale gas industry in the province, with a crackdown on wells that are leaking gas.

Environment Minister Pierre Arcand said Friday he is concerned that the shale gas industry is out of control, and that's why his inspectors have started handing out notices of infractions at various mines.


Quebec has granted dozens of oil and gas companies exploratory permits to drill in the lowlands along the St. Lawrence River. ((CBC))

Arcand said six notices of infractions at wells have been handed out so far, and there will be more.

Only a week ago, Arcand warned that the government might not allow shale gas development in the province, a sentiment that was echoed by Premier Jean Charest.

The minister said his inspectors are on the ground inspecting wells, and will continue to do so over the next few weeks.

Two of the warning notices were handed out Thursday to Talisman Energy and Canbriam Energy Inc. for wells in Leclercville, in the municipality of Lotbinière, and in La Présentation, near Saint-Hyacinthe.

Talisman spokeswoman Phoebe Buckland said the notice came as a surprise.

"We had informed both the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Natural Resources of our plans for remedial work, so we were surprised to receive a notice of infraction on work that is ongoing," she said.

Arcand said he knows some of the companies are working to repair leaks. But he said the repairs are not being done quickly enough.

"We felt that there had to be some work to be done in order to prevent those wells where there were gas leaks," he said.

Buckland said repairs on the well in Leclercville will be completed in two more weeks.

Talisman also had to suspend its operation in the United States for eight days this month, after an incident with a well in Pennsylvania.