Canada gives ConocoPhillips okay for exploratory drilling in Far North

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Canada's National Energy Board on Wednesday approved ConocoPhillips's application to start exploratory drilling in the Northwest Territories, the first time the federal regulator has granted authorization for horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Canada's Far North.

The independent NEB, whose responsibilities include safety, protection of the environment and conservation of resources, gave ConocoPhillips permission to drill two wells near Norman Wells, 728 miles from Yellowknife, the territorial capital, and 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle.

ConocoPhillips won a land use permit and water license from the local authorities in June, the NEB said in a press release.

The company did not return a call seeking comment on its plans for Canada's North.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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