British Columbia to open two onshore areas to exploration

The gas-prone Canadian province of British Columbia is planning to open two new areas for exploration. Provincial Minister of Energy and Mining Dan Miller says he will begin consulting with the communities of Prince Rupert and Prince George in northwestern British Columbia on possible development in the region.


CALGARY�The gas-prone Canadian province of British Columbia is planning to open two new areas for exploration. Dan Miller, the province's minister of energy and mines, says he will begin consulting with the northwestern communities of Prince Rupert and Prince George in northwestern British Columbia on possible development in the region.

The Bowser and Nechako basins in the region are believed to have significant oil and gas potential. A number of companies have expressed interest, says the ministry.

Most exploration to date has been in the northeastern area of the province near the Alberta border, where a number of large gas plays have been developed.

Miller said some consultation is being done on possible exploration in the offshore Hecate basin between the mainland and the Queen Charlotte Islands. The area is currently under a moratorium, and Miller said any plans for offshore development will be approached very carefully in the environmentally sensitive region.

British Columbia has been moving aggressively to attract more oil and gas investment and activity in the past several years. Provincial revenues from the oil sector increased to $660 million (Can.) in 1999 from $360 million in 1998.

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