Premier David Alward is promising his Progressive Conservative government will keep trying to persuade New Brunswickers that hydro-fracking is safe despite the simmering public opposition.

Alward was responding to a decision by SWN Resources Canada to suspend seismic testing  for the rest of the year.

The company blamed the decision on the vandalism, theft and threats it has experienced in recent months.

Alward told reporters on Tuesday that he's focused on putting regulations in place for the shale gas industry and letting people know they're there.


SWN Resources Canada announced it has halted its seismic testing in New Brunswick for the remainder of 2011. (CBC)

"You know the most important thing we can do is make sure we understand the development, to ensure that we put in place the necessary regulations so people can feel comfortable and confident, and then get that information out. And that's what we'll do," Alward said.

The premier also downplayed the impact of the decision by SWN Resources to halt its seismic testing.

Alward said that doesn't necessarily mean the search for natural gas in New Brunswick will be delayed.

Listen to CBC New Brunswick's political podcast discuss the issue of hydro-fracking.

"Some 80 per cent of the seismic testing has already been completed. It will give them a good base to start evaluating, which is very important," the premier said.

Seismic testing is done to measure whether there's shale gas that can be extracted from the ground.

The company has said its crews will be back next year to continue seismic testing in New Brunswick.

Activists worry that if SWN Resources decides there is enough gas to make it worthwhile the company will use hydraulic fracturing to remove the gas.

The Alward government has introduced new rules governing shale gas exploration and hydro-fracking.

Among the changes, companies must now disclose chemicals that are used in the process and post a security bond to compensate communities if there is any damage.

Hydro-fracking extracts petroleum using a pressurized mix of water and other substances injected into shale rock formations or coal beds.

The high-pressure mix creates or widens fissures in the rock, so gas or oil can escape from pores and fractures.

The Department of Natural Resources held public forums  earlier this year on shale gas exploration.