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Lucien Bouchard out as head of shale-gas lobby

MONTREAL - Former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard is stepping down as head of the province's shale-gas lobby.

Today's move came as Talisman Energy Inc. (TSX:TLM) announced its withdrawal from the oil and gas association that Bouchard had headed since January 2011.

Bouchard was named president of the group after getting a mandate from Calgary-based Talisman.

The Quebec government halted the shale-gas industry in March 2011 following recommendations in an environmental-assessment report.

That prompted Talisman to cancel investments of $109 million in shale-gas investments in the province.

It said at the time there wouldn't be any capital committed to exploring for gas in Quebec's shale formations for the foreseeable future because of a ban on the kind of drilling required to extract gas from the rock. With its dwindling activity in the province, it has now left the lobby group.

The new Parti Quebecois government has just ordered public hearings on the exploration and exploitation of shale-gas reserves in the province.

The government will also table a bill to formalize a moratorium on shale-gas exploration in the St. Lawrence River valley in advance of legislation that will regulate the industry.

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