Southwestern Energy (also known as SWN, NYSE: SWN) is an oil and natural gas company based in Houston, Texas. Its primary current activity is, according to the company, the "development of the unconventional gas reservoir located on the Arkansas side of the Arkoma Basin."
Operations in New Brunswick, Canada
There has been a major political debate about hydro-fracking in New Brunswick, Canada, with protests being held since August 2011 in Fredericton, Sussex, Hampton, Norton and Rexton. Local residents in areas where exploration is undertaken are "concerned that the seismic testing could lead to hydro-fracking in their communities" and that the fracking would "harm their air and water quality."
In 2010 Corridor Resources, in partnership with Apache Resources, who operated in the McCully Field play, the first company to use the "controversial mining practice known as hydraulic fracturing or hydro-fracking" in New Brunswick, announced that "it found more natural gas in place in southern New Brunswick than is available in all of western Canada's proven reserves."
According to Ralph Carr, the mayor of Sussex, New Brunswick, by December 2011, "global players" in natural gas exploration and extraction SWN Resources and Apache, had "announced their intentions to aggressively search for gas in the deep shale deposits that lay beneath us." Shale gas was discovered in that area in c. 2003, but new technologies such as fracking have made its extraction viable. Carr argued that controversy about shale gas development in New Brunswick was partially fuelled by media attention, when Calgary-based Windsor Energy Inc. conducted seismic testing within the town boundaries, before Sussex town council had given official permission. Carr argued against an outright ban on shale gas production but admitted that, "[m]issteps and mistakes by some companies involved with shale gas production have caused environmental damage and tarnished the image of the industry as a whole."
In July 2011, Tom Alexander, SWN's general manager for New Brunswick, assured residents that they were only exploring, not fracking. In July SWN seismic equipment was vandalized in an isolated work camp in Cumberland Bay. In early August 2011, 40 people from Penniac, Taymouth, Stanley, Rogersville and several First Nations blocked a road north of Stanley, stopping Southwestern Resources Canada trucks used in seismic testing. As part of ongoing protests against Southwestern Energy's shale gas development, there has been a blockade on Route 134 in Mi’kmaq territory in New Brunswick.
On 3 October 2013, the Court of Queen's Bench in New Brunswick granted SWN Resources an injunction to end the protests of the Elsipogtog First Nation. However, the protesters were undeterred, and on 17 October, they brought matters to a head with a demonstration that blocked the highway and set several police cars afire. The situation "exploded in violence, sending dozens of people to jail and reducing five police cars to smouldering ruins". The RCMP said "more than 40 protesters were arrested for various offences including firearms offences, uttering threats, intimidation, mischief and for refusing to abide by a court injunction". On 29 November the protestors and 70 RCMP officers blocked traffic for several hours.
- "Southwestern Energy Company". Google Finance. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
- "Our Profile". Southwestern Energy.
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- "'Nobody is leaving,' N.B. native protesters vow after clash with RCMP turns violent". Gloria Galloway And Jane Taber. Globe & Mail. October 17, 2013. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/rcmp-move-in-on-first-nation-protesting-shale-gas-development/article14904344/?cmpid=rss1
- "RCMP, protesters withdraw after shale gas clash in Rexton". CBC.ca October 17, 2013. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/rcmp-protesters-withdraw-after-shale-gas-clash-in-rexton-1.2100703
- cbc.ca 29 Nov 2013: "Anti-shale gas protest closes Highway 11 in N.B. for hours"
- "Seismic testing trucks blocked by protesters", CBC, 9 August 2011
- "Fracking firm says vandals won't stop it", CBC, 26 July 2011
CBC News Posted: Jul 26, 2011 7:25 PM AT Last Updated: Jul 26, 2011 10:49 PM AT* "Sussex mayor warns shale gas ban is not the answer: A series of special op-eds written on the shale gas industry", CBC, 2 December 2011, retrieved 18 October 2013
- CBC (17 October 2013), RCMP, protesters withdraw after shale gas clash in Rexton, retrieved 18 October 2013
- Canada: Tensions High in Mik’maq Blockade Against Colonial Gas Grab, Earth First, 4 October 2013, retrieved 18 October 2013
- Howe, Miles (3 October 2013), Injunction against anti-shale gas activists issued, but Elsipogtog councillor says Premier Alward is willing to talk, retrieved 18 October 2013