I’ve always felt it to be true, but the work on this Projects issue of Natural Resources confirms it: Atlantic Canada is truly blessed.
Oil and gas? We have it in abundance. Hibernia, Terra Nova, White Rose and Hebron are already producing an average of 340,000 barrels per day. With billions of dollars committed to additional exploration activity—thanks to new geoscience and publicly-available seismic data—I confidently predict that there’s a mini Saudi Arabia about to be developed offshore. And that’s without including development of our known natural gas reserves. Word on the street is that we could see a Natural Gas Development Plan in place by 2022, with commercial production potentially as early as 2030.
I know there are people out there who believe that we shouldn’t develop those reserves—that climate change will force a mass flip from carbon-based fuels to renewables. I agree it will happen, but it won’t be overnight or even in the next 10 years. Even then, we’re still likely to need petroleum. Too many of the products we use everyday are comprised, at least in part, of oil and gas or its derivatives. Still, the good news is that the petroleum products produced offshore Atlantic Canada are produced more safely and with a higher environmental regard than almost anywhere else in the world. In the January issue of this magazine, Dr. David Risk with St. Francis Xavier university noted that offshore projects aren’t as prone to methane emissions as their land-based counterparts. All of which has me convinced that our offshore sector will be booming for the long term.
Even if it wasn’t, Atlantic Canada is nothing if not resource-full. Muskrat Falls isn’t yet part of the grid and we already have renewable power to spare, with exports of hydroelectricity from Labrador to homes and businesses across the region, into Quebec and points beyond. We are also producers of wind, tidal and nuclear power, as you’ll see in Terri Coles’ story (page NR41). Not to mention New Brunswick’s generous forestry sector and the profusion of mines across the region, harvesting nickel, gold, tin and more.
Of all our blessings, however, I feel our ultimate renewal resource is the ingenuity and determination of the people who live here. It’s one thing to have access to raw materials; knowing what to do with them is something else entirely. Working together, Atlantic Canadians are constantly innovating new and better ways to make the most of what we’ve been gifted with.
After more than 37 years in the magazine business, I can honestly say I’ve never been more enthusiastic about the future of this region. The best is yet to come. •