Calgary oilman Michael Binnion has been appointed as interim head of the Quebec Oil and Gas Association.
Mr. Binnion, chief executive officer of Questerre Energy Corp., replaces former premier Lucien Bouchard, who stepped down recently as president.
The lobby group has been working for years to convince skeptical Quebeckers that the controversial method of extracting natural gas in shale using hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – is safe and doesn’t present a danger to the environment.
It also represents exploration companies eager to move ahead with their oil development projects.
But the Quebec government says it plans to table legislation soon that will impose a moratorium on shale gas activity.
Government officials have stated that they are not opposed to oil exploration but that it won’t go ahead without first putting in place a clear regulatory and environmental framework, a process that could take years.
The outspoken Mr. Binnion is already a high-profile figure in Quebec as a result of his public efforts to convince Quebeckers that fracking is safe.
He has a blog on his company’s website, tweets frequently and made a point of taking French lessons in an effort to better reach out to ordinary citizens.
The province is sitting on large, untapped reserves of natural gas and oil, according to industry studies.
Mr. Binnion was not available to comment Tuesday.