Quebec Halts Most Shale Gas Activity


"Move puts new spotlight on U.S. shale amid environmental worries."

Quebec's provincial government said it would halt most new natural gas exploration and development, putting a new regulatory spotlight on shale gas extraction amid environmental worries in the U.S.

The move puts the brakes on a promising exploration play in eastern Canada, where drillers hope to exploit shale gas deposits. Shale gas development has grown quickly in the U.S., with companies flocking in recent years to long ignored deposits in places like Pennsylvania, Texas and the Rocky Mountains.

But late Tuesday, Quebec's government, which has authority to regulate energy and environmental issues inside the province, issued its first environmental assessment of shale-gas development there. The assessment didn't cite specific findings but concluded that more studies are needed.

Shortly after, Quebec's government halted further exploration in the province, except for drilling that might help the assessment, stopping short of a full moratorium.

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