FREDERICTON – The company at the centre of a fracking controversy in New Brunswick says it hopes to drill four test wells next year that will help determine the location of shale gas deposits in Queens and Kent counties.
If the project is approved, SWN Resources Canada says the vertical test wells would extend several thousand metres below the surface in Pangburn, Bronson, Galloway and Lower Saint-Charles.
Environment Minister Danny Soucy says the wells must undergo environmental assessments and SWN Resources will be required to respond to questions from a technical committee that includes representatives from the provincial and federal governments.
The company’s exploration work in New Brunswick has been dogged by protests against shale gas development, including one near Rexton last October that turned violent and led to the arrests of about 40 people.
Exploration manager Chad Peters says there are no plans at this time to proceed with hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at the test well sites, which would require further regulatory approval.