You have probably noticed all the interest in shale gas and related developments in British Columbia. There was concern over a state-owned Malaysian firm offering billions of dollars to buy into a northern BC shale play. Now Chevron wants in spending a pile on both shares in a shale gas play and in the pipeline infrastructure to distribute the gas.
How many stories have you read lately about companies looking to spend hundreds of millions to help develop New Brunswick’s shale gas?
I could be talking about Arkansas or Pennsylvania or Bakken but BC is more instructive because it is a Canadian province just like New Brunswick.
You could argue, rightly, that NB’s shale gas development industry is more theoretical than BC where 50% of all new gas wells are from shale and other unconventional sources.
But it is stil interesting to me. Back in the latter part of the first decade there was a lot of interest in exploratory work in New Brunswick. Now? Who knows. Maybe there is interest but it isn’t showing up in the media.
Of course the low price of gas and the US glut isn’t helping but those market dynamics are in place out in BC too.
What bugs me the most is the political response. Instead of looking at our natural gas as an important and valuable resource much of the political response has been to demonize the resource. Of course the tepid and very lacklustre response from just about every other stakeholder just reinforced much of this view. Name me one influential stakeholder that vigorously endorsed shale gas development? There were some external voices – Donald Savoie comes to mind- that were very supportive of at least getting through a proper exporation phase for the industry just to see if we can actually extract commercially viable gas – but not many.
Now companies are dumping billions into BC and nothing into NB. I hope that will change but…..