Olje og energi

QEC 12.11.2018 kl 15:19 4400

After failing to get its projects accepted in Quebec, the shale gas industry turns to the courts to have its right to drill with fracking recognized. The Alberta company Questerre, which is leading this action in court, also claims that this technique is safe and hopes to even boost the development of the sector in the province.

The spokesman of the Quebec Oil and Gas Association (QGQA), Éric Tétrault, is formal: the former government of Philippe Couillard did not have the right to close the door to fracturing in the St. Lawrence Lowlands. Lawrence. "It's an arbitrary decision that was made at the last minute, obviously in view of the election campaign. So it's a political decision and, for us, it's unacceptable, "he said in an interview at Le Devoir .

The APGQ "supports" the lawsuit that Questerre Energy has launched against the Quebec government to force the annulment of the regulations of the Hydrocarbons Act, which formally prohibit "fracking in shale", including in lakes and rivers. "Questerre considers that the ban on fracking of shale is in no way justified by the scientific data available to the government", and therefore, that "it is arbitrary, discriminatory and unreasonable," reads the documents filed in Superior Court on November 6.

The company recalls that the hydrocarbons Act adopted by the Couillard government authorizes the use of fracking. Moreover, the first version of the regulations, published in September 2017, did not close the door to shale gas projects in the St. Lawrence Lowlands. It was not until last June that the government chose to ban fracking in this region of Quebec, insisting on the lack of "social acceptability".

According to documents filed in court, this action amounts to a "disguised expropriation" of all companies that hold permits in the St. Lawrence Lowlands. "For seven years, and after several environmental studies, the intention has always been to put in place rules to regulate the production of hydrocarbons in Quebec. But we come to the end of the process, last June, with draft regulations that block the production of hydrocarbons, "summarizes Éric Tétrault.

13,000 km²

The query presented by Questerre also specifies that the lowlands "constitute the only sector with a commercial gas potential in Quebec". The APGQ spokesman added that "Quebec has potentially the second or third gas among the purest in the world. We sit on a world-class resource. This explains the interest of the companies, who always hope that it will one day be possible to go towards the production ".

According to the most recent list of the Department of Energy and Natural Resources, a dozen companies currently hold a total of about 13,000 km² of exploration permits in the south of the province. In addition to Questerre, there are Repsol Oil Gas Canada (a subsidiary of a Spanish company), Suncor, Gastem and Altai Resources. Most of the permits are held by companies outside Quebec, since the acquisition of Junex by Alberta's Cuda Energy.

Questerre is therefore taking legal action "on behalf of a group of oil and gas companies in Quebec," says Michael Binnion, who is both president of the QOGA and president of Questerre.

According to the lawyer Jean Baril, specialist in environmental legislation, the victory of Questerre in court is however not acquired. It recalls that the government is entitled to adopt a regulation that comes to "restrict activities" that are permitted by law. However, this is the case with fracturing, "which has been prohibited precisely in shale, but which is permitted elsewhere in Quebec".

Gas recovery

The Questerre motion also does not mention any claim for compensation, if the ban on fracking should remain in effect. In court documents, the company stresses, however, that it suffers "serious and irreparable harm", but also "a commercial loss that worsens and damage to its reputation". It is also evaluating its investments and those of its partners to "more than $ 160 million" since 2003.

The Calgary company is therefore calling for the revival of the shale gas sector in Quebec, while recognizing that the issue of fracking "has generated a reflection across Quebec". As she points out, the "safety" of her "clean gas" project has been demonstrated "by reliable and objective scientific data".

Redigert 21.01.2021 kl 08:41

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