The Oil and Gas Services Association of Québec (OGSAQ) just released an independent survey of the participants in their recent tour to Alberta farms. The ERCB is Canada’s most experienced oil and gas regulator and Alberta has among the best regulatory outcomes in North America. You can see the presentation they made to Québec farmers at this link.
Before the tour 44% of respondents were somewhat favourable to shale gas development, 44% unfavourable or very unfavourable and 12% undecided. The results of the independent survey show the tour was more successful than initially thought (or hoped for that matter).
100% of participants were satisfied with the tour, felt more knowledgeable about oil and gas, agreed for the most part all their questions were answered, and most significantly agreed it was possible to have harmonious relations between the natural gas industry and farmers.
100% thought the tour of Trican fracing equipment was relevant, 96% found the presentations from the Alberta regulators relevant, 67% found the tours of Alberta farms relevant and unsurprisingly only 11% found the museum tour relevant to their concerns about natural gas development.
Here is the big news. After the tour, 56% of respondants were somewhat or very favourable to shale gas development, with 22% somewhat unfavourable with no one very unfavourable and 22% undecided.
Participants were excited for the possibility of having an open dialogue about natural gas development in Québec without the intimidation. A majority of participants were not satisfied with the media reports on the tour and wrote an open letter to set the record straight.
Personally I thought the media coverage was quite fair. Media coverage focused on that the tour had not convinced participants because they still had questions and homework to do. There was even back-handed acknowledgment that industry had been fair and had got out of the way and allowed farmers from Québec to talk directly to farmers from Alberta.
After two years of confrontation and coverage saying Quebecers are completely convinced, coverage about the seemingly novel concept of asking questions and doing homework, is big progress.
100% of participants agreed other Quebecers should participate in events such as this. I would like to invite the EES to be the very first representatives of the Québec Government to come to Alberta and find out how Alberta farmers who love their water and children get along well with the natural gas industry.