Exploration company to lose drilling licence near Newfoundland's Gros Morne park

A couple walk along a boardwalk on their way to Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne, N.L., on August 14, 2007. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - An oil exploration company says it will lose its licence next month to drill wells near Gros Morne National Park in western Newfoundland.

CEO Mark Jarvis of Shoal Point Energy Ltd. (CNSX:SPE) says the company's bid to extend one of three exploration licences it holds in the province was rejected Dec. 5 by the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

In a statement, Jarvis says the decision means his company will lose its licence as of Jan. 15 as well as a $1-million deposit made last January for a one-year extension on drilling exploration wells.

Shoal Point Energy and Black Spruce Exploration, a subsidiary of Foothills Capital Corp., had proposed to hunt for oil in shale rock layers in enclaves surrounded by the park using hydraulic fracturing.

The prospect of drilling near Gros Morne, recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site, set off intense debate and raised alarms about groundwater pollution and other risks.

Last month, the provincial government shut the door on applications for hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, for oil and gas while it reviews regulations and consults residents.


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