For years the Horn River News has been covering the benefits of natural gas, its new found abundance in shale gas and huge opportunity for British Columbia has from shale gas assets and its advantageous proximity to the Asian market.
The last three years have been since dramatic changes in the North American natural gas market. Low prices, abundant resources, lower demand have all contributed in changing the North American market for good. The US is the largest producer in the world and no longer imports the vast amount of natural gas from Canada as it once did and the Canadian natural gas industry is suffering from it as they have no other distribution channel for selling natural gas.
As the Canadian natural gas enters a new era, the world is once again facing the possibility of a global recession. Canada will fare better then others but the Canadian economy will not grow as once projected with nearly all analyst reducing their growth projections for Canada by a half to full percentage point.
When shale gas was discovered in northern British Columbia the Province of BC filled provincial coffers with billions of dollars from selling exploration licenses to energy companies large and small eager to tap into the Horn River and Montney basin. The money was welcomed as the global financial markets were about to be shaken. The Province committed hundreds of millions for infrastructure to support the shale gas industry of northern BC. But much more needs to be done; to save and grow the natural gas industry in Canada and BC
With both the EU and USA now stumbling again. The world is holding its collective breath again. Markets are shaking, data is suggesting economies are contracting and people have lost confidence in the market, the economy and their politicians.
Canada has been incredibly fortunate. The Federal Government of Canada has guided the country through the global recession without bankrupting the the country. Canada is likely to stave off a recession but growth will remain very sluggish.
In BC, and Canada the time for natural gas is now. Soft economic markets present opportunities to make long term capital investments that will create needed jobs immediately, and provide immediate and long term economic growth. The Province of British Columbia has been quite supportive of the natural gas industry over the last couple years. Accelerating and increasing this support now would reap needed economic benefits and finally put BC in the international energy market as a provider and export hub.
A recent article in the Vancouver Sun has finally caught up and recognized the importance not only of BC’s shale gas resources as a resource but as an economic driver at a time when the Provincial economy is forecast to soften.
Its simple. Due to our technical ability to economically extract natural gas from shale rock has made natural gas one of the most abundant energy cources in North America. Nearly 90% of Canada’s natural gas was exported to the USA. But the USA has their own shale gas and is the largest producer of natural gas in the world. In fact, plans are underway for the US to start exporting natural gas to energy hungry Asia.
However, the only way the natural gas industry can remain competitive – and worse case stay alive – is to be connected to the international gas market. And herein lies the economic boom opportunity. In order to connect to the international market, pipelines and export terminals are required. A good portion of this infrastructure is underway but more can be done in order to ensure that BC is the preferred export terminal for Asia.
Asia needs energy and demand there is going to increase. Public sentiment for nuclear power in Japan has fallen so in the interim alternative power options will be required and natural gas is a likely contributor.
If you are a reader of the Horn River News, you likely know all the benefits of natural gas as an affordable, cleaner energy alternative to oil and coal. Technology brought the gas out of the shale; technology is squashing environmental concerns for water pollution.