August 13, 2019 2:17 pm

Company halts fracking plans in Sussex area over ‘regulatory uncertainty’

The Blaine Higgs government came under fire in June after it quietly moved to allow fracking in the Sussex area

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
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A company that had plans to frack for natural gas in New Brunswick says it will spend its money outside of the province.

Corridor Resources was searching for investors to back the multimillion-dollar plan but now says “regulatory uncertainty” has limited its search.

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“Due to the regulatory uncertainty in New Brunswick — in particular, when or if Corridor’s lands will become exempt from the [fracking] moratorium — Corridor is and has been limited in its ability to market the Frederick Brook Shale prospect to potential joint-venture partners,” Corridor Resources said in a news release Monday.

READ MORE: New Brunswick Indigenous chiefs left ‘blindsided’ by decision to lift fracking moratorium

New Brunswick’s PC government came under fire in June after it quietly moved to allow fracking in the Sussex area. Opposition critics claimed the provincial government ignored the necessary consultation to lift the ban, saying First Nations leaders were not made aware of the decision.

In the release, Corridor Resources said provincial government officials advised they are “unable to consider applications for an exemption to the moratorium as they undertake a consultation process with the New Brunswick First Nations.”

Corridor says it plans to defer the marketing of the Frederick Brook Shale prospect until such time as the moratorium is lifted.

WATCH: N.B. to lift fracking moratorium in Sussex area

Corridor had been extracting shale gas in the Sussex region since 1999. But in 2014, a moratorium was issued by the newly elected Brian Gallant Liberals, stopping the development of new wells.

The company was looking to spend about $70 million through contributions from investors, with work expected to start in 2021.

But Corridor president Steve Moran said the company is now going to start looking elsewhere.

“With working capital of approximately $64 million, Corridor enjoys considerable optionality to pursue opportunities for deployment of our capital,” Moran said in a statement.

“We will continue to exercise patience and be selective in any opportunities we may decide to pursue.”

READ MORE: Alberta Energy Regulator restricts fracking near Brazeau dam following earthquake

Hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — is the controversial process that breaks shale deposits to extract gas.

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