Prentice wants Lower Churchill power for Ontario

James McLeod
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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.

“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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Organizations: North American

Geographic location: Canada, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador Muskrat Falls United States Gull Island North America East Coast Quebec

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Recent comments

    June 22, 2013 - 06:19

    Newfoundland & Labrador has the potential to become the Cleanest, Safest, and largest supplier of power in north america, The cost of oil will increase as the supply decreases, Wind is not reliable, Atomic energy has been shown to be unstable, But the power supplied by harnessing the force of a water falls will last (old saying) for as long as Water Runs And Grass Grows. The supply of power from a water falls will last forever, clean, Safe, and at no cost.

    • Tony Rockel
      June 22, 2013 - 23:04

      Well I hope you will enjoy paying for the most expensive hydro power in Canada for as long as water flows and grass grows.

  • John Smith
    June 20, 2013 - 19:25

    Muskrat falls is a project that is being developed to provide power to one province....NL....that's it...not NS, ONT. the US or anywhere else. Why can't anyone understand that? We will have a bloc of power available from the project for a number of years...we can simply let that excess flow into the ocean, as it has for the past several hundred million years, or we can get something for it,,,the multi billion dollar connection to the mainland, and the opportunity to sell some power on the spot market...if we want to. If we develop gull sometime in the next 20-30 years sure...but muskrat is for us....always was, always will be. Oh and to Alec, the reason why that deal stank was because Quebec wanted the lions share of the profit, and the it went to the garbage heap...where it belongs....

    • Tony Rockel
      June 22, 2013 - 23:08

      Muskrat Falls is an overpriced disaster that will produce electricity we won't need and no one else will buy. And you are obviously a shill for Nalcor.

  • Alec C
    June 20, 2013 - 13:08

    Quebec and Ontario did have a proposal for MF and Gull Island during Roger Grimes brief tenure as Premier. 0$ NL investment with $100 million a year return. Gull Island 2250MW of electricity could have went 100% to Ontario - MF 330MW block for NL use (Avalon) with first right of refusal for the remaining 496MW. Dean McDonald politically resigned over this issue on NL Hydro and developing the entire LC hasn't been mentioned once from NLPCs and Nalcor since. Ontario is paying ever increasing energy costs due to McSpendy yet LC remains far out of reach for a needed market? America has NO market for MF power whereas Ontario has a huge demand for stable hydro. Ontario is over 1/3 Canada's population and need to stop playing nice with Quebec - sign long term PPAs with NL for LC power and Quebec will be forced to cooperate and comply. Quebec can't afford to go against Ontario ratepayers: tampering or interfering in lower electricity rates for Ontario is risking Billions of Canadian tax dollars funneled to Quebec annually. Dunderdale needs to be more Canadian and stop trying to get China to fund/back all of NLs resource projects.

    • Christopher Chafe
      June 21, 2013 - 09:23

      So what you are saying in essence is for Premier Dunderdale, to bend over backwards and take one for the greater good of Canada by caving into the demands of Quebec?

  • abby
    June 20, 2013 - 10:04

    Do we smell a rat?

  • Hypocrite
    June 20, 2013 - 10:02

    And yet Prentice's bank wouldn't touch this project with a ten foot pole. The financing had to come by way of government backing.

  • Jon Smith
    June 20, 2013 - 08:47

    Billy Boot , you are correct. It is unfortunate that we have decided to spend the extra $ 5 billion to go around Quebec. Electricity customers on the mainland will only pay going rates and not agree to share that additional cost with us. The greed of Ontario will be no different than Quebec or Nova scotia- all take no give. With the present Democratic????system, no federal government will take on Ontario or Quebec, the two provinces which hold half the seats - the good of the country be damned. Why we listen to puppets sent in to spout the weak kneed federal line of "provinces sort It out yourselves", we will never know.

  • Paul
    June 20, 2013 - 08:33

    It is fine for Ontario to say develop it and many may agree we should, however, QC has to be on board so talk to them and then come to NL. A renegotiation of the renewal clause in the original Churchill falls deal would be a start. QC won't do that so this is a non starter from the get go. QC will eventually have to pay more for that power and when 2041 comes it may be a brutal shock if they don't do it now.

  • Jordan
    June 20, 2013 - 08:19

    Ontario had planned to contribute to the Lower Churchill in the past.

  • Billy Boot
    June 20, 2013 - 07:10

    Prentice makes no sense here. He makes a strong case against Muskrat Falls energy and then he asks that it bedeveloped so that the energy can go to Ontario. Translation. NFLD, please build Muskrat Falls and take a bath on it so Ontario can pickup the energy in your desperation at bargain basement prices. Bizarre of him really.

  • Jeremiah
    June 20, 2013 - 07:05

    Newfoundland and labrador is at the table, Ontario is at the table. Where ia Quebec? Quebec is the "spoiled child" in this great canadian family. They want to take everything and give back nothing. Unfortunately we are stuck with them.

  • Jack
    June 20, 2013 - 06:45

    If Ontario wants Muskrat Falls power, Ontarian power utilities should contribute their part just like Nalcor and Emera are doing now.