FUTURE NATURAL GAS DEVELOPMENT
Natural gas production has soared in the United States, making it the largest producer in the world. This dramatic transformation from being dependent on coal, imported natural gas and other fossil fuels, has caused other regions to assess the development of shale gas resources as well.
There have been many technological advances since development of the shale resources began in the United States. The deployment of new technologies including hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has changed the dynamics of natural gas exploration and production. Changes to well pad and casings, fracking fluids, monitoring procedures and other regulations, makes today’s procedures and processes much different than what transpired in the early days of development.
In addition, geological differences exist in each region. Here in New Brunswick, shale formations exist deep underground at 2,000 - 5,000 meters, significantly below local potable water wells at 70 meters.
In Canada, natural gas from shale reserves has been successfully developed in several provinces, including Saskatchewan, (whose demographics and industrial activity are similar to New Brunswick), Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, long known for its environmental sensitivity. The development of natural gas reserves trapped in shale formations has been ongoing for over ten years in New Brunswick, and for decades longer across Canada.
Across Canada there are over 200,000 hydraulically fractured natural gas wells in production, with no adverse impact to potable water wells or aquifers. Indeed, there has also been no documented adverse effects to air quality or health issues in Canada.
That isn’t to say there are no impacts. With interest generated in Quebec and Nova Scotia, and further development pending in New Brunswick, the Atlantica Centre for Energy embarked on a project to document research and findings from across Canada relevant to our situation here on the East Coast.
The Atlantica Centre for Energy has collected, reviewed, collated and is now making available in one location, a cross section of reports on topics such as health, environment, community/social issues, safety and economic benefits of natural gas development using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.
The Framework document includes an overview and details on each of these topics. Also – see our Resources section for papers on community, safety, environment, health, and economic benefits.