SWN Backs Out of Energy Forum

24 10 2014

Opinion

ENERGY SECTOR SENDS SIGNALS

The 12th annual Atlantic Canada and Northeast U.S. Energy Summit opened Thursday in Saint John with one chair conspicuously empty. SWN Resources Canada,the company leading exploration for shale gas in New Brunswick, cancelled their participation at the last-minute. SWN outlined their reasons in a letter to conference organizers and we suspect the company’s absence is directly related to the new Liberal government’s decision to place a moratorium on shale gas exploration and development.

Premier Brian Gallant opened the conference with a stirring defence of the TransCanada pipeline project and even suggested a second pipeline carrying fracked natural gas from Alberta to the Canaport LNG terminal should be developed. Was the irony lost on Mr. Gallant? Lacking from Mr. Gallant’s speech was any indication he was softening his stance on the shale gas moratorium. Bringing the major energy players, which include NB Power,Emera,Enbridge Gas New Brunswick and Maritimes and Northeast Pipelines, together at this pivotal time in New Brunswick’s energy sector makes great sense. Not having SWN Resources as part of that discussion leaves a gaping hole.  The opportunity provided by shale gas development has been well-documented. Under a moderate activity level scenario, 50 wells could be developed a year,meaning an annual investment of $600 million. Over a 20-year period, that translates into $13 billion in direct investment with an estimated $8 billion in additional indirect and induced investment. Royalties based on 50 wells per year would reach $1 billion over the 20-year period, and there would be additional corporate, income and sales tax from the industry.   Former Premier Frank McKenna is scheduled to deliver keynote remarks at aFriday luncheon. Mr. McKenna is a firm backer of shale gas development in our province and has touted the many economic benefits in several speeches. Perhaps the former premier can cut short his speech to spend a little time with our new provincial leader. We believe a good 30 minutes alone in a room with the new premier could advance the need for New Brunswick to embrace this development opportunity.   The new premier and his government should take SWN’s no-show as a signal they need to revisit their moratorium plan immediately. Companies that do business on a North American or global scale have other investment options. We may have plenty of gas in the ground beneath our province but it will be an opportunity missed if we fail to seize it when that investment is ready.   We are a have-not province that needs to find ways to pay our own way and correct our deep fiscal imbalance. Mr. Gallant should be working to embrace industry players willing to work in our province to stimulate economic activity and generate wealth.That’s what is happening in Alberta,Saskatchewan and other jurisdictions. Mr. Premier, it’s time to listen and learn.

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2 responses

24 10 2014
Douglas Newman

Sorry, but this article is way off track. “Embracing” the very same despoiling industries that are killing our planet at an ever-increasing rate is total folly at best, and shear madness at its worst. There is plenty of mounting proof from all over the world of the great dangers to our land, waterways, and air quality associated with shale gas fracturing and the transport of “dilbit”. Even if it were safe, very little (any?) of this gas and oil that the industry wants to move through Saint John, NB is for Canadian use. The prices are *much higher* in Europe and elsewhere. And *that’s* where this product is headed. We, The People of Canada are being sold a complete load of BS, and our “politicians” are leading the charge. Time to wise up to the scam, Canada.

24 10 2014
roughgarden

I don’t disagree with you. This article defends fracking, but it’s saying that the limited moratorium has had some effect—it sent SWN packing. It’s not even worth it for them to pay a corporate stooge to represent them at the conference.

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