Southwestern Energy Company said that it won an exclusive license to explore for oil and gas on 2.5 million acres in New Brunswick, Canada.

Southwestern Energy Company is required to spend $47 million in capital over the next three years on this exploration program. This exploration program in Canada is the company’s first outside the United States.

Steve Mueller, the CEO of Southwestern Energy Company, said, “While the Maritimes Basin has been recognized for years, we have identified a large area which we believe is prospective for oil and natural gas. There is a significant amount of data yet to be collected in order to confirm its economic merit, but if our testing yields positive results, we expect that our activity in the area could increase substantially over the next several years. This could be the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our company’s history.”

Southwestern Energy Company is known mostly for its acreage in the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas, where it has almost 900,000 acres under net lease. The company had reserves of 3.12 TCF as of 12/31/2009, and production of 243.5 BCF in 2009.

Southwestern Energy Company also has smaller interests in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania, and the Haynesville Shale in East Texas.