Quebec passes law banning oil and gas production
The government of Quebec passed Bill 21 on April 12, effectively banning oil and gas production in the eastern Canadian province and agreeing to provide C$100mn (US$79.5mn) in compensation to the industry, much less than the C$500mn requested.
“We are incredibly disappointed that the government of Quebec has chosen to proceed with this legislation,” Questerre Energy CEO Michael Binnion said April 14. “By blocking the development of its natural gas resources with zero-emissions technology for export, Quebec is missing an important opportunity to work with other nations to provide secure, reliable energy for our European allies.”
Quebec premier Francois Legault promised last year to ban oil and gas production in the province and followed through in February, when Bill 21 was tabled in the National Assembly.
Questerre is sitting on an estimated Utica shale gas resource of some 6 trillion ft3 in Quebec’s St Lawrence Lowlands. That resource is now effectively stranded.
Denying Questerre and other companies the opportunity to develop Quebec’s natural resources, Binnion said, leaves the province “highly dependent” on imported natural gas, oil and petroleum products. And it does nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec or elsewhere.
Bill 21 was passed by the National Assembly, and has received royal assent from the province’s lieutenant governor. It will come into force, in whole in part, at the government’s discretion following the finalisation of associated regulations, including the proposed compensation programme.
“As we wait for Bill 21 to come into force, we will be assessing our legal options to preserve the rights of our shareholders,” Binnion said.