Shale gas boss confident government will ‘come around’

5 11 2014

[Editor: Gallant may eventually “come around”, but the people of New Brunswick will continue to say “no fracking way.” So dream on, gas boss, and watch your stock price and assets go down the drain.]

ADAM HURAS Legislature Bureau
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November 4, 2014
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This is a photo of the Corridor Resources Inc. natural gas plant in Penobsquis.Photo: Shane Magee/Kings County Record

FREDERICTON • The head of the company leading the development of natural gas in New Brunswick believes the Liberal government will eventually “come around” and let industry back to work.

“We’re a little bit worried about the short term, but over the long term, no, we’re not as concerned,” Corridor Resources president and CEO Steve Moran said. “We think government officials understand the potential of the resource here and we think that once they feel they have addressed their issues in terms of health and safety that they will come around and that we’ll be back to work.”

The New Brunswick Exploration, Mining and Petroleum conference wrapped up on Tuesday, industry representatives walking away without new information on what a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing will mean to companies that are currently both exploring and developing shale gas.

Moran, who met with Energy Minister Donald Arseneault last week, said he wasn’t surprised that the industry gathering didn’t see government provide further details on what a Liberal-pledged moratorium will mean.

“We’re confident that, over time, we will work our way through this moratorium,” Moran said. “We think we have been able to work in the Penobsquis area with all the residents, we have had a very successful relationship with the people out there.

“We expect that’s going to continue.”

But Moran said Corridor’s work remains crucial to a neighbouring PotashCorp plant and that further wells will also need to be hydraulically fractured for the company to stay profitable.

“That’s the only place they get their gas, from our joint operation,” Moran said. “We have a lot of undrilled locations that we can drill in our field so we have to be able to keep on going to grow our production and then to provide PotashCorp their share of production as well.

“Our business is to continue to increase our production year after year. Our shareholders are looking for us to grow our production, grow our asset base.”

He added: “The one complication with oil and gas is that your fields decline every year. We have to keep on drilling to be able to keep our production up.”

The final day of the conference also included a presentation from Corridor Resources engineer Stephan MacLellan entitled Hydraulic Fracturing: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly – a take on how the industry has dealt with concerns from the public.

He said polling routinely suggests that the oil and gas industry is one of the less liked businesses in operation, while stating that it has done a poor job in representing its importance and value.

“You have an industry that people don’t like, poor PR, and with the way social media is today, it really breeds an environment where several allegations could be made and stick with the public,” MacLellan said. “Some of these allegations are pretty serious.”

MacLellan then provided details of Corridor’s cement casings, in place to safeguard drinking water.

He detailed the lengthy regulatory work the company must go through, labelling the province’s regulations as some of the stiffest in place.

He then pointed to the company’s 15-year history in New Brunswick, safely completing 109 fracture stimulations on 46 wells.

MacLellan added that the company has paid $1.3 million in royalties this year alone.

Corridor’s presence at the industry event comes as SWN Resources pulled out.

Despite the natural gas exploration and development company being the event’s platinum sponsor, SWN decided against registering a single delegate to attend.

It’s the second major industry conference SWN Resources has dropped its presence from in the last two months.

“I can’t really comment about the other guys that didn’t show up,” Moran said. “We really don’t know why.

“We are an active player in the province, we want to keep working in the province, so we felt it important for us to be here. We’re here to do more work.”

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