One of Mark Twain’s famous quotes is “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. We could say that the reports of Questerre exiting Quebec are also greatly exaggerated.
So what if auditors and regulators based in Calgary opine that that the risks for the energy business in Quebec are higher than ever. Their opinions based on English media reports of instability in Quebec don’t reflect the interests or realities of Quebecers who will decide their own future. They can make us write off our book value but they can’t make us write off Quebec.
I have said more than once that opponents in Quebec must really like me. This because I have sworn not to leave until oil and gas development is approved. So the more they oppose the longer they will have me. I am convinced in my heart that local hydrocarbons are simply better for the environment, the autonomy and the economy of Quebec than on going reliance on imports. I also believe fervently that a strong Quebec is better for Alberta and Canada. So much so that I have been fighting for all and any oil and gas projects in Quebec not just my own.
I have blogged that people don’t instantly see the truth rather they gravitate to it http://www.questerre.com/mike-blog/2015/06/18/orbiting-the-truth/ . It is taking time to demonstrate the enormous benefits of local hydrocarbon development are worth the manageable impacts that arrive with it.
Though the facts and the studies and experience continue to pile up. Their weight is harder and harder to ignore. While the science is never settled it has become obvious that fracking does not have systemic problems or impacts. At least this is what the Environmental Protection Agency found in its comprehensive study.
Quebec undertook the only comprehensive study in Canada of the impacts of modern oil and gas extraction. These more than 130 scientific studies carried out by Quebecers and published in French are available to all of the experts in Government and the Premier’s advisors. The studies found clearly that the impacts of fracking can be managed. Of course that is what we said http://www.apgq-qoga.com/en/2012/02/20/new-study-no-evidence-between-hydraulic-fracturing-and-water-contamination/
What is really exciting for us at Questerre is the results coming out of the ‘Super Utica’ in Ohio. On a per meter of horizontal well basis these results are in line with the Utica results in Lotbinere and Becancour. The ‘Super Utica’ in Ohio is the only growing dry gas play in North America because it is economic at very low gas prices. The recently published independent economic impact report from the Canadian Energy Research Institute found that the Lotbiniere/Becancour Utica was marginally economic today. They concluded this without taking in to account the incredible results from the ‘Super Utica”. Yet another myth, that Quebec natural gas is not economic, bites the dust.
It reminds me when we were trying to raise money for exploration drilling in Quebec. Calgary investors told me everyone knows there is no gas in Quebec and recalled Jim Buckee the President of Talisman saying that Bow Valley Industries was so poorly managed they were even looking for gas in Quebec. And Montreal investors said that promoters like me came around every ten years saying there was natural gas in Quebec but there never was. It was Norwegians who took the investment risk because they saw the potential for Quebec to emulate what happened in Norway.
Finding it is the hardest part and so if we didn’t give up then, why would we give up now?
Today there are many credible oil and gas projects in Quebec. We have learned the hard way that putting all your eggs in one basket is the road to failure in oil and gas. Diversification is the path to success. Neither Quebec nor Questerre are wise to rely on just one project. Questerre has several projects and so does Quebec. Nonetheless we are still very glad that the Utica is one of the projects in our basket and given it could make Quebec self sufficient in natural gas we think Quebecers should be as well.
While the reports of us leaving Quebec are greatly exaggerated the potential for oil and gas in Quebec is if anything underestimated. No matter what the bean counters in Calgary say.