New Brunswick

N.B. should 'give prosperity a chance,' Corridor CEO says

Phillip Knoll writes that the natural gas industry could provide significant economic benefits to New Brunswick.

A series of special op-eds written on the shale gas industry

Phillip Knoll became the president and chief executive officer of Corridor Resources Inc. in October 2010.

Knoll has 30 years of varied experience in the energy sector.

Before joining Corridor Resources, Knoll operated his own energy consulting business. Knoll has also worked for companies, such as Duke Energy Gas Transmission; Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, Westcoast Gas Services, Westcoast Energy Ltd., TransCanada Midstream and ANG Gathering & Processing Inc.

At Corridor Resources, we have a track record of working closely with New Brunswickers to explore for and produce natural gas.

Since 1998, we have generated millions of dollars in economic activity and created good jobs while safely drilling more than 40 wells in the province. 

Today, our confidence in the immense potential of New Brunswick’s natural gas resources is born of our history in the province, and of the opportunity to explore for natural gas contained in tight or shale formations.  By continuing to work with New Brunswickers, we believe that the industry can safely and responsibly develop the natural gas sector in a way that will bring significant new benefits to the province. 

It is important to understand that the potential of New Brunswick’s natural gas resources has barely been tapped. According to one independent, qualified engineering study, the Sussex/Elgin sub-basins alone contain an estimated 67 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, much of it found in "tight" or shale formations.

In Canada and the United States, oil and gas produced from shale or tight rock formations using fracture stimulation is quickly becoming the predominant source of new supplies. These are the fuels of the future.  This leaves New Brunswick with a choice: It can either import shale gas and support jobs elsewhere, or it can decide to develop its own resources. 

Either way, natural gas, the greenest and most versatile fossil fuel, will play an increasingly important role as an energy source in Eastern Canada.

The National Energy Board predicts, for instance, that natural gas will account for 60 per cent of electrical generation in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick by 2025.

Meeting future needs

In our view, New Brunswick has the potential to meet its own future market needs for natural gas, and increase exports from the province at the same time.  To put it another way, it has a chance to be an energy supplier rather than an energy buyer inside North America.

Oil and natural gas production, from shale or tight formations, has already proven itself to be transformative for provincial and state economies.

In the Montney Formation in British Columbia where production of natural gas from shale went from zero in 2005 to 376 million cubic feet per day in 2009, exploration companies directed revenues of more than $2 billion to the provincial government in the early stages of development.

In West Virginia and Pennsylvania, shale gas activity in the Marcellus Formation contributed $4.8 billion to the economy in 2009 alone, according to an analysis completed by the American Petroleum Institute.

Similar economic benefits

New Brunswickers now have the opportunity to pursue similar economic benefits through their natural gas industry. Successful development would not only create jobs, it would also generate government revenues, enabling the province to deliver better services in crucial areas like health care, education and transportation.

In essence, we are asking New Brunswickers to consider the science- and fact-based evidence that suggests natural gas resources can be safely and responsibly developed under fair and effective regulations.

Citizens of the province will also understand that the immense potential of this resource cannot be understood unless exploration is allowed to proceed. 

At the same time, Corridor, with its long history of operations in the province, recognizes that the industry must work closely with New Brunswickers to move the energy sector forward.  As an industry, we must be open in our communications, and we must achieve excellence in our operations.

We must earn the trust that comes from operating safely, and in an environmentally-responsible manner.

On the basis of those commitments, and of the industry’s track record of safe operations, we are asking New Brunswickers to embrace the opportunity their province has to take its place in North America’s emerging energy economy.

The citizens of this province can benefit from the province’s energy resources, as people in Western Canada already do. New Brunswick, can, in short, give prosperity a chance.