An oil and gas company wants to frack in the Yukon in the next year or two.
EFL Overseas Inc. presented to investors in February its plans to expand natural gas production in the Kotaneelee gas fields of southeast Yukon.
By the end of 2015 the company plans to spend at least $48 million to develop three shale gas wells.
Production of shale gas has ballooned over the last decade thanks to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, technology. It involves pumping a huge amount of water, sand and chemicals down wells in order to break apart the rock and release the natural gas trapped inside.
The company estimates there is a potential resource in the Kotaneelee of up to 13 trillion cubic feet of shale gas.
But the government confirmed again yesterday that no licences to frack in the territory will be granted until a review of the process has been completed.
“The goal of the government is to facilitate and inform public dialogue about the oil and gas industry, including risks and benefits of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, before any regulatory approvals or permitting allows the use of this activity in Yukon,” said Currie Dixon, minister for the environment and for economic development.
Dixon is one of six MLAs who will form a committee to review fracking.
Government approval will not be the only barrier EFL Overseas faces in its plans to frack the Yukon.
Its gas fields fall in Kaska traditional territory, and the Kaska do not want to see fracking in the southwest Yukon.
“It is quite concerning at this point given the Government of the Yukon’s conduct,” said Chief Liard McMillan of the Liard First Nation, speaking to the company’s plans in the region.
The Kaska announced in the fall that they will oppose any oil and gas or mineral development on their territory where the company does not have an agreement with the First Nation.
In December the government removed the Kaska’s veto power over development from the Oil and Gas Act. But McMillan insists that right to consent still exists.
The First Nation has contacted EFL Overseas and informed them of their duty to gain the consent of the Kaska to work in the area, he said.
“The veto remains in place, and we’ve announced a full moratorium and mining development in the southeast, and we will enforce that veto,” said McMillan. “Those companies that want to do business in the southeast Yukon should talk to the Kaska and seek their consent before any development.”
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