Atlantica Centre for Energy Calls for Natural Gas Development in New Brunswick
(Saint John, NB, March 26, 2018) In December 2014 over $500 million of investment in natural gas development in New Brunswick came to a standstill. The government effectively announced an end to existing development as well as any new prospects.
The premier identified several conditions to address prior to allowing developers to continue supplying natural gas to Maritimers, as they have done for over ten years.
Today, over three years later, the government cannot point to any progress it has made or movement towards satisfying its own conditions. A wastewater management plan has been submitted without any government acknowledgement; no process has been created to engage First Nations; no discussions have taken place regarding its royalty structure; all while our current supply of natural gas from offshore Nova Scotia is in the process of being decommissioned.
The net result of the government’s inaction in developing New Brunswick’s resources is to force the thousands of natural gas users to import natural gas from the United States and beyond. This results in a much higher delivered price for natural gas to New Brunswickers and, even worse, forces some users to switch back to less costly and higher emitting heavy fuel oil and coal.
We call upon the government to actively address the development of this natural resource, estimated by the Canadian Energy Research Institute to total over $2 billion of new tax revenue to the province, with a potential annual economic impact of $898 million per year! That is too great an amount to ignore with inaction. As our annual deficit continues to be well over a hundred million dollars a year, any taxpayer in New Brunswick understands the importance of new revenue.
We question why our government continues to ignore millions of dollars that could fund healthcare, increase the effectiveness of our educational system, and reduce the $14 billion debt the province carries.
Groups across the province are voicing their impatience with this inaction. We add our voice to this chorus – get on with the development of our natural gas for the betterment of all New Brunswickers.