Hydraulic fracturing is a new and unproven technology
Hydraulic fracturing is a proven technology that has been safely used for about 60 years in Canada.  In Western Canada, over 175,000 wells have been stimulated using hydraulic fracturing. This process has been more recently combined with horizontal drilling to access larger sections of the reservoir, making them commercially viable to produce.
Shale gas development will stall the development of renewable energies
As global energy demand grows, renewable energies are expected to supply an increasing portion of world energy needs. The International energy Agency’s (IEA) 2012 Global Energy Outlook forecasts worldwide global energy demand will rise over 30 percent from 2012 to 2035. While the IEA projects that renewables will continue to rise, the world needs to… Keep Reading »
Natural gas is cleaner than shale gas
Shale gas is natural gas. They are both methane – the cleanest burning fossil fuel, which is used across Canada to heat homes and buildings, to fuel industrial processes and as a cleaner fuel option for transportation. “Shale” refers to the type of rock from which natural gas is extracted.
Hydraulic fracturing will contaminate groundwater
Over 175,000 wells in Western Canada have been safely completed using the hydraulic fracturing process, which is strictly regulated in Canada. Groundwater protection is assured by sound well construction and hydraulic fracturing is only conducted at safe distances from fresh water aquifers. In the case of many shale gas reservoirs currently being developed in Canada,… Keep Reading »
This week, Nova Scotia Energy Minister Andrew Younger announced that the government will introduce legislation this fall that will ban hydraulic fracturing – a move that will unfortunately put a stop to thousands of new jobs and billions in revenue for the province.
The government is not going through with this legislation because shale gas development poses an inherent threat to the people of Nova Scotia. On the contrary, the expert panel tasked with researching the technology found that there is no credible threat to water and the risks of shale development are manageable. As Minister Younger put it, this plan to ban development is primarily due to the fact that hydraulic fracturing is something that “most Nova Scotians are clearly not yet comfortable with.”
This effort puts the spotlight on the fact that New Brunswick’s economy has lagged over the years. New Brunswick has an unemployment rate of 10 percent, which is the second highest in the country. The Conference Board of Canada recently released economic report cards for Canadian provinces and gave New Brunswick one of the lowest grades for economic health: a “D.” In fact, many people have had to move to western provinces just to find jobs.
As the public hearings on shale development in Nova Scotia come to an end, and as researchers at Cape Breton University prepare to release their final report on hydraulic fracturing, it’s important to evaluate the information that was put out before, during, and after the hearings and correct any distortion of the facts.
Those who showed up to these meetings certainly deserve a lot of credit for getting involved in the process and making the effort to learn more about shale development. However, it’s also the case that many folks were presented with misinformation by anti-shale activists, and they deserve to have access to the facts.
New Government Commissioned Report: Shale Gas Development Could Be an “Economic Force” For New Brunswick
A new report commissioned by the provincial government of New Brunswick has found that shale development could be an “economic force”, bringing billions in revenue to the province along with thousands of jobs.
As the report also points out, New Brunswick is estimated to have enormous deposits of shale gas: there could be 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas just in the McCully and Stoney Creek shale formations alone. Of course, the development of these resources would bring wealth and prosperity to the province. From the report:
“If the shale gas industry takes root in New Brunswick, it could be an economic engine for decades. If the industry were to expand to a level where it was producing 200 wells per year it would sustain nearly $1.6 billion worth of annual provincial GDP and 4,400 full time equivalent jobs – at well above average wages – each year. It would also provide an ongoing stream of high value tax revenue to governments. At the 200 well level, it is estimated the shale gas industry would generate $310 million worth of tax revenue each year in addition to any royalties.” (p. 29)
Maurice Dusseault, along with other academic researchers, recently released a report on well integrity, which suggests that large percentages of natural gas wells are leaking methane into water supplies and into the air. Unsurprisingly, the report led to headlines like this: “Leaking natural gas wells spew methane, report warns.”
This is a very serious conclusion. However when you dig a little deeper into the report you can see that the reality is nowhere near what the headlines, or even the report itself, would make you believe. Here are four key facts to know about Dusseault’s latest study:
As Canada celebrated Environment Week last week, researchers at Cape Breton University released their long awaited reports on hydraulic fracturing. The conclusion is clear: hydraulic fracturing does not pose a credible threat to groundwater, as long as the process is closely monitored and regulated.
“Due to the distance between the targeted formation and the aquifer, it is anticipated that fractures would not extend from the shale to the aquifer, and thus direct contamination from hydraulic fracturing fluids would appear unlikely.” (emphasis added, p. 10).
Over the past few months, anti-shale activists have been arguing that energy development and exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) would increase Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, despite contrary findings by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The anti-shale group was even granted an article in the New York Times focusing on British Columbia, which asks if the province would be able to meet its climate targets if it ramps up LNG exports. From the New York Times:
“Perhaps nowhere is the debate so intense as in British Columbia, a province in western Canada where there are plans to export large quantities of natural gas to Asia. Environmentalists fear that the production and processing of the gas for export could upend the province’s aggressive climate change policies, which include an emissions-reduction goal and an unusual carbon tax system.
On Environment Week, Canada has reason to celebrate. As Environment Canada recently pointed out, Canada is making “significant progress” on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and much of that progress can be attributed to the increased development and utilization of natural gas.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) explained in its latest assessment, “GHG emissions from energy supply can be reduced by replacing coal‐fired with highly efficient natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants or combined heat and power (CHP) plants.”
The Conference Board of Canada released an economic report card last week and the results were quite telling: the provinces with some of the largest energy development sectors received “A+” grades, taking the top slots for economic health. According to the Conference Board of Canada:
“Resource-rich Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador are the top performers among all the provinces and international peers—all three provinces score ‘A+’ grades on the Economy report card.”
In the wake the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) report on hydraulic fracturing, several news outlets have focused on one of the most important questions on folks’ minds: what is the effect of shale development on public health?
As Shale Resource Centre (SRC) pointed out immediately after the report was released, the CCA study argues that there isn’t enough data to determine the health impacts of shale development – but while the report includes references to studies from researchers who appear to be critical of oil and gas development, there were comparatively few references to the enormous body of work and research that exists, which underscores the long-record of the safety of hydraulic fracturing.