Captain Kirk in mudstone

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Quebecers are overwhelmingly in favour of local development of natural gas. Yet, as you may have already heard, they are somewhat opposed to shale gas exploitation. Do you know the difference between shale gas and natural gas? No one does because there isn’t a difference. Shale gas and natural gas are both methane.

Quebecers like and are in favour of natural gas from sandstone, siltstone, marlstone*, limestone and many other types of stones all of which need to be fraced to produce today. Yet try to give them natural gas from a mudstone or any other small grained stone for that matter and there are literally protests in the streets (note to reader: shale is the term for a small grained stone).

It reminds me of the Star Trek episode where the indefatigable crew landed on a planet to find two peoples at odds with each other. One group was black on the right half of their face and white on the left half of their face. This group saw the obvious inferiority and were violently against the other group who were conversely white on the right half of their face and black on the left.

Captain Kirk’s crew was confounded as to why it mattered which side of one’s face was black and which side was white. No surprise since the equal opportunity credentials of the Starship Enterprise were well established by the unforgettable Lieutenant O’Hara.

Captain Kirk might ask Spock “why are these people so against mudstone?”

Spock would reply “Its not logical Captain, but the prime directive prevents us from interfering. They must resolve their own irrational fears of mudstone.”

Dr. McCoy would intervene “Spock don’t be so blasted logical! There must be an alternative to conflict; these people are up to their eyeballs in mudstone conflict.”

“Why don’t they just use dilithium crystals for their energy?” Scottie would ask.

“Brilliant Scottie! Dilithium crystals – problem solved.” Captain Kirk would reply. “Beam us up Scottie”

* tricked you! the Utica unlike most all other shales in North America is not a mudstone but a marlstone made mostly of carbonate. This accounts in part for why Utica natural gas is among the cleanest sources of natural gas in North America. It still leaves us wondering what the conflict is about.