Former federal cabinet minister Jim Prentice speaks at the Noia oil and gas conference in St. John’s Wednesday.
— Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram
Everything is changing dramatically in the North American energy market, and Jim Prentice says that’s why Newfoundland and Labrador needs to develop the Lower Churchill — not just Muskrat Falls, but the larger Gull Island site as well.
In a speech at the annual Noia conference, the former federal cabinet minister talked about the dramatic changes to the oil and gas market in North America in the past few years, and how that will affect the future.
Prentice didn’t explicitly talk about fracking — the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing that has opened up vast new resources for oil exploitation — but he alluded to it repeatedly and in great detail.
“Essentially, technology so well known to most of you in this room, has stood conventional wisdom on its head. Oil and gas production from Canada and the United States will continue to increase for years to come,” Prentice said in his speech to oil and gas industry people. “Consumption of oil in the United States has plateaued and is even beginning to decrease. And the price of continental natural gas will for many, many years be the lowest in the world, providing an incredible industrial advantage for North Americans.”
Prentice said that the fracking explosion in the U.S., combined with a major expansion in oil and gas development in Canada, will dramatically transform the North American economy.
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“This is a critical time to promote and to support the development of other opportunities in the East Coast energy industry,” he said. “We are witnessing, really, the birth of an array of large scale energy infrastructure projects and programs designed to capitalize across canada on domestic and external demand. No other country in the world is bringing on energy projects on the pace and scale of Canada, and these really set the stage for Canada’s next stage of economic development.”
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