The great Shale debate - part 1

April 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

Back in November of 2011, the NB Business Council started the process of learning about shale gas exploration and development. The issue had been a hot topic for the public and media for a number of months preceeding our November meeting, and members were very interested in getting access to educated points of view about the topic.

We invited in 4 guests to share their knowledge about the subject, and recorded their presentations to share with the public:

1) Dr. Adrian Park, UNB professor in the Department of Earth Sciences on the geology of fracking

2) David Coon, then Executive Director of the Conservation Council, on the environmental concerns

3) Kevin Heffernan, VP with the Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources on the industry's view

4) Minister Bruce Northrup, then Dept of Natural Resources on the government's plan

If you'd like a copy of the slides from any of these presentations, we'd be happy to share them. Simply click to email me your request.

Business council members had many questions for our guests. After the presentations, we didn't reach an immediate answer on the question of "to frack or not to frack". We agreed on the following points:

  • We encouraged NBers to get educated and shared our videos to contribute to the discussion (more than 1500 views to date!).
  • We encouraged GNB to continue to work with all parties interested in growing NB's economy, and hoped that our province's doors remain open to newcomers (industry and individual alike).
  • We saw an opportunity to leverage our universities and talent to establish world-leading standards for innovative regulations and to develop new and improved gas exploration practices.  We urged all stakeholders to strive for these goals.


Council members were provided with additional information in the months that followed, as various reports and points of view were added to the discussion.

Minister Leonard attended our November 2012 meeting to provide an update on the development of regulations for the industry, as well as the broader environment for energy in New Brunswick. In the discussion that followed it was clear members really wanted to better understand whether businesses in New Brunswick could participate in the shale gas industry, and to what extent, if it were to develop in New Brunswick.  We wanted to know what products and services were required by industry in the life-cycle of a wellhead, and whether New Brunswick's business community included companies that could meet those demands.

We reached out to Future NB, and asked if they could help us with this work. The board of Future NB agreed to strike a steering committee to set the terms of reference for a study.  The steering committee included representatives from UNB, UdeM, the NB Trades Council and the business community. They received 3 strong proposals for the project, and ultimately selected Deloitte to take it on. Which brings us to today.

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