New Brunswick announces commission to study hydraulic fracturing

The Canadian province of New Brunswick has appointed a three person Commission to study if the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing should be lifted. In December 2014 the provincial government introduced amendments to the Oil and Gas Act that placed a moratorium on all types of hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick following wide-spread public protests. The moratorium will not be lifted unless:
  • a social license is in place;
  • there is clear and credible information about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on public health, the environment and water, allowing the government to develop a country-leading regulatory regime with sufficient enforcement capabilities;
  • a plan is in place that mitigates the impacts on public infrastructure and that addresses issues such as waste water disposal;
  • a process is in place to respect the duty of the provincial government to consult with First Nations; and
  • a mechanism is in place to ensure that benefits are maximized for New Brunswickers, including the development of a proper royalty structure. 
The Commission, consisting of a former Chief Justice and two academics, is to report back to the provincial government with its key findings within one year.

New Brunswick is believed to have approximately 80 TCF of in place gas in the Frederick Brook formation.

This post was written by Alan Harvie ( or +1 403.267.9411) from Norton Rose Fulbright's energy practice group.