Shale Gas approach in North America

by samp on February 23, 2015 - 9:35pm

Shale gas exploitation has been an ongoing debate throughout the world by affecting many local populations, the economy and energy security. As many world regions addressed the issue differently, this article will enlighten different aspects regarding shale gas and how it is viewed worldwide. Often, it is an issue of environment versus economic advantages. For example, Quebec took a moratorium approach and didn’t exploit shale gas while Alberta and the rest of Canada exploit or view the resources as economic opportunities. Also, the North American approach has been in general to exploit the resources and limit the regulations to maximize economic profits and income of society.   

The first article ‘’Shale gas not worth the risk, Quebec environmental agency says’’ expresses Quebec general point of view regarding this issue. The main conclusion of Quebec’s study is that shale gas ‘’is not worth the risk’’ (Shale Gas, Montreal Gazette). The article states that the numerous disadvantages are far more important than the potential royalties that the state could obtain, which are estimated in the hundreds of millions per year. It also expresses Quebec different approach on the issue compared to provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia. The article represents well Quebec’s cultural approach to this issue as Quebecers are concerned about the environment and would like shale gas to stay in the ground.

Another article published by the financial post of Toronto illustrates a contrast of visions between Quebec and the rest of Canada regarding the drilling of gas. The article ‘’‘Take that Quebec:’ Questerre CEO touts Alberta advantage as production starts at Montney shale gas project’’ blames Quebec laws and the way it addressed the issue. They blame the lengthy process in Quebec, which causes lack of investment and opportunity for economic growth. The issue is addressed differently in this article as it clearly focuses on the economic advantages of the exploitation of gas. The article mentions that risks of shale gas developments are ‘’manageable’’ and values the competitive advantage of states without tough regulations (Cattaneo).

Finally, while Canada as a bi-partisan vision of the topic, the United States clearly have the highest pro-shale gas approach. The article ‘’Study finds relatively low emissions of methane from major US gas fields’’. The article affirms that ‘’leak rate are about 1%’’ on the US soil (Tollefson). This number is under the government precedent estimates, which is good for the exploiter. The method used was the collection of methane data in the specific exploitative regions of shale gas on American states (Tollefson). Overall, this article illustrates the American point of view, as small gas leaks are not something to consider. On the other hand, Quebec is more cautious on leaks even though they might not be considerable. It illustrates the general pro-economic way of thinking of Americans.

 In conclusion, the three articles illustrate the different way of thinking regarding shale gas on the North American territories. Canada and Unites States favor the exploitation in general at the exception of the province of Quebec. The way media presented the issue shows Quebec’s distinct approach and the distinguished political orientation of the province compared to its neighbors. It is interesting to see also how different papers impact the coverage. For example, the financial post focuses only on regulations and economy while the Montreal Gazette and Nature Magazine focus also on the environment. In my opinion, the best approach is an exploitation of shale gas to get economic benefits. However, it is important to take the environment into consideration as it is an important part of Quebec’s culture by having strong regulations.





Works Cited List

Cattaneo, Claudia. "'Take That Quebec:' Questerre CEO Touts Alberta Advantage as Production Starts at  Montney Shale Gas Project."Financial Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. alberta-advantage-as-production-starts-at-montney-shale-gas-project/?lsa=7e1c-b9af.

"Shale Gas Not worth the Risk, Quebec Environmental Agency Says."Montreal Gazette. The Canadian Press, 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. < gas-not-worth-the-risk-quebec-environmental-agency-says>.

Tollefson, Jeff. "Study Finds Relatively Low Emissions of Methane from Major US Gas    Fields." Nature Publishing Group, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.    < us-gas-fields-1.16961>.


If you are interested in environmental related volunteering and activist I am sure that you would find the organisation Equiterre interesting as it focuses on environmental issues such as tar-sand oil which to a certain degree relates to shale gas. It also holds activities such as picking up litter in the forest and removing invasive species. If you would like to learn more and volunteer I suggest viewing their website at the following address:

I really like how you presented three different perspectives of the growing debate of the extraction of shale gas in Quebec. Your article presents these viewpoints in a clear and organized fashion, making it interesting to read. The moral dilemma in this case is straightforward; and Quebec is choosing the environment over the economic benefits involved with exploiting shale gas. The position Quebec is in to make this decision is a tough one. Quebec could be restricting it because the extraction of shale gas may not be worth the risk for it’s current market demand, and Quebec is a province that has hydroelectricity already as an alternative for energy. They could also be waiting for a potential technological advancement in the future that could make it less harmful for the environment. I personally think it should be kept on reserve in the case that we may need it later on. Currently it is damaging to extract, and I think if there were very high demand for it, it would be economically beneficial to do. Since Quebec is not short of energy presently, I feel the government is doing the right thing by restricting the drilling of shale gas.

I like how you demonstrated the difference in opinion on this matter across Canada. It is quite interesting that the views within a country can contrast so greatly. I wish you would have included more of the arguments for each stance in your post though. I would have liked to know why Quebecers are against the exploitation and Albertans are for. The exploitation of shale gas is one that has many facets and is not clearly understood. Yes of course, like the exploitation of all other resources, it comes with an environmental cost but I am left unsure to how it measures up to other energy sources such as coal or nuclear or even hydro. Every power source has its effects. After reading your article, I found another interesting article regarding this subject. It revealed that shale gas could potentially be worse than coal in terms of climate change. Greenhouse gases from shale gas include carbon dioxide and methane as a result of its burning and exploitation. Instead of finding different fuels that are equally harmful, if not worse, we should strive to work towards the development of greener renewable fuels. I recommend you read the article as I found it quite informative on the issue. Here is a link to the article: