New Brunswick’s Department of Energy and Mines has granted SWN Canada a one-year extension to search for shale gas.
The company’s licenses were set to expire, but SWN Resources was granted permission to extend their search.
The extension went into effect Monday.
“While a licence to search gives the holder rights to the area in question, it is subject to government’s proposed moratorium on hydraulic fracturing,” said New Brunswick’s Energy Minister, Donald Arseneault.
SWN Resources applied for a six year extension on their exploration licences. But because SWN has a licence and not a lease, it is only eligible for extensions of one year at a time.
The government says this move shows that it is still committed to the industry, with what it calls a safe and sustainable approach.
The opposition says these license extensions would’ve been worth $47 million based on what it says SWN was willing to invest.
“They’re giving them a one year, no cost, no conditions license to a company that is now gone and taking private investment, capital, and job creation,” says New Brunswick PC MLA Jake Stewart.
As far as the industry goes, shale gas supporters say a one-year extension is an empty development.
“SWN signed those original licenses in 2009 and for five years not a single well was drilled,” says Stewart.
Shale gas proponents say they’re not surprised licenses have been extended.
The Chamber has an energy summit organized in June, where they’re aiming to educate the public on potential energy projects.