Page 46-47 - CIO_June_2014

Academies report on natural
gas development from shale has re-
ceived widespread attention across the
country, especially in New Brunswick.
While the report does a good job
characterizing the potential risks as-
sociated with developing natural gas
from shale, it falls short in describing
the regulatory measures and industry
operating practices that exist in juris-
dictions where natural gas has been
developed for many years.
For example, the five elements
the report lists as required for “an ef-
fective framework for managing the
risks posed by shale gas development”
are already in place in Alberta and
British Columbia, Canada’s top natural
gas producers. These proven regula-
tory frameworks are solid examples of
regulatory excellence for jurisdictions
seeking to establish their own natural
gas industry.
That’s what the New Brunswick
government did as it developed rules
for the province’s natural gas industry:
it took the time to learn from jurisdic-
tions with a proven regulatory frame-
work. This prudent approach resulted
in a set of rules for natural gas devel-
opment that address the report’s five
As a result of effective regula-
tions, industry operating practices and
continuous performance improve-
ments, our industry is highly confident
the natural gas development processes
we use are effectively managed to pro-
tect the environment and the public.
We welcome scientific research to
inform policy and regulations, indus-
try operating practices and technologi-
cal innovation. However, in addition to
sound science regarding potential en-
vironmental impacts, good public pol-
icy must consider economic growth,
energy security and reliability, and
recognize the market realities shap-
ing supply and demand across North
Demand in New Brunswick is in-
creasing as natural gas distributors are
consistently adding customers and as
the province seeks to attract businesses
and industries that require natural
gas to fuel operations. A recent poll of
Saint John businesses indicates about
per cent support natural gas devel-
opment for a number of reasons, such
as the value of developing a reliable,
long-term domestic source of supply.
Today, New Brunswick’s 12,000
natural gas consumers and industrial
users get their supply from offshore
natural gas fields. Natural gas from
New Brunswick’s McCully field also
contributes a small portion to that sup-
As production from offshore
gas fields is declining, however, new
sources of supply may be required.
So it’s likely the potential supply
gap in New Brunswick will be met by
onshore natural gas from within North
America, mostly from nearby uncon-