Nova Scotia

Province tries to steady natural gas price after spike

The Nova Scotia government is seeking out advice on how to stabilize the cost of natural gas after a short supply caused the price to triple in December.

The Nova Scotia government is seeking advice on how to stabilize the cost of natural gas after a short supply caused the price to triple in December.

Now the province has commissioned a study looking for ways to avoid any similar price spikes

In a statement, Energy Minister Charlie Parker said the province wants to diversify its energy sources to include more natural gas, wind, tidal, biomass and hydroelectricity.

The startling December hike hit large customers, including Dalhousie University in Halifax, hard.

The school said it was $400,000 more than they budgeted for.

"The biggest problem in an institution like this is if we have to put more money in reserve in case the gas price goes up, we can't commit it to paying for a professor or paying for other services on campus," said Jeff Lamb, assistant vice-president of facilities at the university.

"So if you do end up not spending it at the year end you've got money in the bank that you held on just in case. That's why this instability is a big problem for us."

Supply from ExxonMobil's Sable Gas field dropped sharply in December because of recent production problems offshore, compounding predicted declines.

The price dipped again in January.

The government said the ultimate goal is to reduce Nova Scotia's dependency on coal and find greener sources of energy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Nova Scotians have had access to natural gas for a little over a decade.

The study is due by the end of March.

With files from the Canadian Press

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