SWN to resume seismic testing
Testing in Kent County will begin this spring
Southwestern Resources Canada will begin seismic testing for shale gas in Kent County this spring, according to the general manager for New Brunswick.
Tom Alexander said he wanted to let area mayors know the company will be going ahead with plans to do the testing for two or three months.
"I just wanted them to be…to give them a good heads up that in case any of their constituents called and wondered what was going on that they would have been informed that was simply the purpose of the call to be open and transparent," he told CBC News.
SWN has no plans to do any testing inside the limits of any of the communities, said Alexander.
If that changes the company will have to appear before village or town council to get permission, he said.
SWN suspended its seismic testing in the province in August, about a month ahead of schedule, following numerous protests and alleged vandalism by people concerned about the controversial hydraulic fracturing process.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydro-fracking, is a process where exploration companies inject a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground, creating cracks in shale rock formations to extract natural gas from areas that would otherwise go untapped.
Opponents are concerned the process will ruin the water supply.
Alexander said the company completed testing in several areas of the province last year, including Salisbury, Havelock, Blackville, Stanley and Chipman.
He said 400 wells were tested before and after seismic testing and there was no damage.
Tough regulations promised
In August, Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup had blamed vandalism for SWN’s early exit from the province.
He said there had been thousands of dollars worth of damage done to the company's equipment.
Northrup and Premier David Alward have consistently said that the potential revenue from the shale gas industry could pay for public services.
The premier has also said he wants to impose the continent’s toughest shale gas regulations on companies working in the province.
The provincial government committed to tightening up regulations governing oil and gas companies after Windsor Energy admitted to conducting seismic testing within Sussex’s borders in October before it had received support from the local council.
The provincial government investigated the incident and Northrup forwarded a complaint to the RCMP in November. However, the police opted not to lay charges because nothing in the existing regulations allowed a company to be punished or penalized. Northrup said in December that he would close that loophole.