Now you are cooking with gas

Long before New Brunswickers were using natural gas in their homes (at least this time around – gas was used 100 years ago in Moncton) my father used to intone “now you are cooking with gas” when someone was getting traction on an issue.  He also used to use his own version of Miramichi colloquialisms such as “you are crazier than ol’ hardwood ever dared to be” or “you have more xx than you can shake a stick at”. I never really understood any of them.

Now I understand the phrase “cooking with gas” as I have seen the merits of a gas-fired cooking stove.  For most people, gas stoves are far superior than electric stoves.

I have written about this before but I think it remains a key part of the debate in New Brunswick.   In much of Canada and the United States natural gas is widely used for heating and cooking in the home.  In some jurisdictions 50 percent or more of households have natural gas coming into their homes.

I think this lack of natural gas usage in New Brunswick is part of the reason why people are ‘scared’ of shale gas and why the side promoting the development of the industry has moved the argument into the usage camp. They are now talking about us using our natural gas in our homes and businesses rather than some abstract economic argument.

This is a good angle as it looks like gas from offshore Nova Scotia will dry up by around 2017 and gas via LNG into Saint John is way too expensive.  We could go from a jurisdiction with ample, diverse supplies of natural gas (circa 2010) to an orphaned market (circa 2017) where gas has to be piped in from the southern U.S. or western Canada with substantial tolls.

For most New Brunswickers, I would think, it might seem a little strange to be importing natural gas that was extracted using hydraulic fracturing thousands of miles away when we have it right under our feet.

 

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3 Responses to Now you are cooking with gas

  1. You write, “I think this lack of natural gas usage in New Brunswick is part of the reason why people are ‘scared’ of shale gas…”

    That would be a good explanation if opposition to shale gas were unique to areas like New Brunswick, but opposition is equally strong in areas where the use of gas is widespread.

  2. richard says:

    “opposition is equally strong in areas where the use of gas is widespread.”

    Can’t be that strong as shale gas extraction is occurring in many of those areas.

    Perhaps the industry should stop calling it ‘hydraulic fracturing’ and use another monikor – ‘EZ Gas’ or ‘Ole Grandma’s Oil’ or ‘G Juice’.

  3. mikel says:

    I’d agree with Richard, there may be opposition, but so far New Brunswick seems to be a special case. But its always dangerous to think you can ascribe the ‘reasoning’ of people you disagree with because it really demeans them and attempts to make it seem like THEY are the problem (gee, if only they knew…). Given NB’s history in most industries and what happened to the people from the potash industry, I think its the protestors who have been far more rational (at least up to the point when the government changes its legislation-since we know that in most aspects there were NO protections or regulations and wouldn’t have been without them).

    The problem really has not been them, but the industry itself, and the government. So even if you admit this may be ‘part of the reason’, ok, fine, but you still have a lot of other parts that have to be dealt with. You can’t just address this one and say “OK, are you malcontents happy NOW”. IF natural gas were cheaply available no doubt maybe you’d be right (at least for those who get it, but not so much for those who may live next to it), but does anybody see that happening? There are NO plans to actually ‘nationalize’ NB gas and keep it in province to benefit the public. Heck, they are contracting out to Quebec to make it available to those in the north!

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