I read this thing from cover to cover last night and it is pretty amazing the differences between New Brunswick and western Canada when it comes to natural gas development. The BC government is thrilled about the potential of shale gas and tells the reader than 50% of all gas produced now comes from hydraulic fracturing and tight gas extraction and it will be the principal way gas is extracted in the future. They are making this industry a key part of the province’s economic growth strategy linking in LNG exports to China, etc.
I did a Google News search to gauge media reaction and hardly a peep about ‘fracking’. Some concerns were covered but I was surprised at how this seems to be a non-issue in BC.
“Matt Horne, director of climate change for the Pembina Institute, cautioned the B.C. government against its dependence on natural gas, which should be considered a “bridge fuel” to a future without fossil fuels.”
You will not hear environmental groups in New Brunswick talking about natural gas as a ‘bridge fuel’ to anywhere.
Some people have made the point that most of B.C.’s oil and gas industry is being developed far from the population base in Greater Vancouver and they argue this is a key difference with New Brunswick. But there is still considerable population in the areas with gas exploration and production and the government is talking strongly about protecting water resources and other environmental issues.
I have always maintained it comes down to people in BC or Alberta or Saskatchewan (and dozens of other places) having a better understanding of the link between these industries and their economies and public services. When you don’t have an industry already in place, this is harder. There are over 1,000 firms providing services to the oil and gas industry in Saskatchewan and six in New Brunswick. When you have hundreds of firms feeding off the natural gas industry, you will get more support.
But that is chicken and egg and opposition parties are playing chicken with this important industry in New Brunswick.