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The corporate logo at Apache Corp. headquarters in Houston. The company plans to explore for a natural gas in southern New Brunswick. ((Pat Sullivan/Associated Press))

A Halifax-based mining company claims it has found more natural gas in place in southern New Brunswick than is available in all of western Canada's proven reserves.

Norm Miller, the president of Corridor Resources, told a business meeting in Halifax on Tuesday that his company has discovered a significant amount of gas in Kings County, near Sussex, N.B.

That's why, Miller said, Corridor's partner, Houston-based Apache Corp., plans to spend big money to see how much of the Kings County find can be developed.

"It's a huge potential that stretches between Sussex and Elgin in terms of the concentration of gas per square mile," Miller said.

"It's by far the largest. It's an order of magnitude larger than other shale plays on the continent."

Apache Corp. will begin drilling a well next month as a part of a $125 million exploration program to find out how much gas can be commercially produced.

If the project goes forward, there could be 5,000 wells in New Brunswick, Miller said.

Near miss

The gas deposit was almost missed by the mining company. The well Corridor drilled near Sussex was initially considered a dud.

Miller's company abandoned the original hole 11 years ago before technology improved to be able to extract gas from beds of shale.

"What may seem to be failure may turn out to be a success later," he said.

"That's what happened in the shale play. We considered the well a failure so we plugged and abandoned."

Miller said he had a similar experience once before when he was drilling for water and discovered natural gas near Sussex.