I really thought the conversation on local natural gas development had moved beyond the mania of an availability cascade in Quebec. Everyone tells me I am optimistic and last week's report in La Presse proves them right.
I remember the following statements over the past few years in Quebec. Some of them are misunderstandings and some of them are pure propaganda. All of them have been proven to be untrue:
- We used dynamite in our wells and we produced poisoness hydrogen sulfide gas.
- Rigs were showing up in the middle of the night in people's backyards without permission.
- Shale gas is dangerous and completely different than natural gas
- Shale gas was causing water to light on fire
- 19 wells were leaking and were out of control
- Fractures were growing underground allowing aquifers to be contaminated
- Local production of natural gas wouldn't reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Everyone knows where the shale gas is and companies were given permits for 10 cents a hectare to find something everyone knew about
- Modern oil and gas technology is not ready or even that it could never be safe and it doesn't have any economic benefits
Now as Yogi Berra said its déjà vu all over again. La Presse reported their new scoop . They claimed after 30 months they found out oil and gas companies were using arsenic, lead and mercury in their frac chemicals. The Ministry of Environment presented a list of all frac chemicals used in Quebec in December of 2010. No arsenic, no lead and no mercury.
It is normal to find Arsenic everywhere in nature at very low concentrations but in the right dose it can be an effective tool for assassins. However, I wish to reassure you that arsenic, like lead and mercury, is quite useless as a frac chemical.
I wonder if even opponents might privately agree that the resources industry has become a punching bag for the lazy. Can we all agree that accusing decent honest hard working people of purposely using poison in their work is not the mark of a civil society. Could we instead see reports that Questerre published frac chemicals in 2010, that frac chemicals and flow back water tests were made public at the BAPE, that industry made voluntary guidelines to publish frac chemicals or even that QOGA called on the Quebec government to make disclosure mandatory.
There is nothing for industry to hide. We have fraced a million wells in North America and while not perfect, our track record is one we are happy to put up against other industries.