SWN halting fracking plans a turning point for N.B. shale gas: business leader

FREDERICTON – A New Brunswick business leader says the past week has marked a turning point in the shale gas discourse in New Brunswick.

Carol O’Reilly, CEO of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, told Global News Thursday she’s worried about what SWN Resources pulling its operations out of New Brunswick could mean for the business community.

“When you lose someone like SWN, or it looks like we’ve lost them…certainly once someone leaves it can be more difficult to get them back,” she said.

For the third time in a week, the Progressive Conservatives slammed the Liberal government’s legislation to stop fracking.

The debate ignited after the release of a letter obtained by Global News, in which SWN’s executive vice-president of corporate development, Jeff Sherrick, said the company has a desire to continue its work and investment in the province, but cannot continue due to a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.

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The company suspended drilling plans that were scheduled for this spring.

READ THE LETTER: SWN suspends drilling program in N.B., applies for long-term license
“We were fortunate to have attracted a large company like SWN to invest in our province and wonder how hard it will be to bring them back once the moratorium is lifted,” O’Reilly said.

Premier Brian Gallant told the legislature the government made clear there could be no fracking of shale gas wells while the moratorium is in place but existing wells, according to the industry, would continue to produce gas.

With files from The Canadian Press

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