New Brunswick

N.B. hydro-fracking will go ahead: company

A company planning to drill for natural gas and oil in New Brunswick isn't deterred by the Quebec government's decision to put hydro-fracking on hold until a full environmental assessment is done.

Not deterred by moratorium in Quebec

A company planning to drill for natural gas and oil in New Brunswick isn't deterred by the Quebec government's decision to put hydro-fracking on hold until a full environmental assessment is done.

SWN Resources Canada Inc. held an open house in Salisbury Wednesday about its three-year project to explore more than one million hectares of land in the province.

Tom Alexander, general manager of SWN New Brunswick, said the company thinks there's natural gas in the province's shale rock, but wants to know for sure.

Tuesday, the province of Quebec announced the moratorium on drilling, just minutes after an environmental assessment board called for a full evaluation of potential risks involved in the drilling and extraction of natural gas from shale rock.

"We are committed to making sure that it is done properly or it won’t be done at all," Quebec Environment Minister Pierre Arcand told a news conference.

Alexander said his company supports getting any new information about the process.

"Any time that you can continue to beef up your regulatory environment, and make it more protective, and incorporate new technologies, new innovations, we're for that," Alexander said.

But David Coon, executive director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, said the province should impose a moratorium on hydro-fracking.

"It's the government policies and processes that are lacking. That's what we need," he said. "The company's policies and processes are going to be only as good as the regulations that the government has, the standards the government has to enforce them."

Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup wasn't available to comment on Coon's idea.

His department said more than 65 oil and natural gas wells have been drilled in the province since 2000, and the majority were drilled using hydro-fracking.

Hydro-fracking is a process where companies pump a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground, creating cracks in shale rock formations. That allows companies to extract natural gas from areas that would otherwise go untapped.