Shale gas as polluting as coal and oil? Be serious!


A study conducted by Professor Robert Howarth of Cornell University in New York State tries to demonstrate that shale gas generates as much greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as coal, oil, or conventional gas.

Unfortunately, this study is based on a false premise, as the author does not use generally accepted parameters, including by the United Nations, to determine global warming potential (GWP). This comparison index quantifies the marginal contribution of GHGs to global warming, compared to that of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The author of the study draws conclusions based on analysis of the effect of methane over 20 years, while recognized scientific experts believe that assessments should rather be determined over a 100 year horizon. In addition, the author and his team recognize having used preliminary data that are incomplete and whose reliability could be questionable.

The latter also commit the sin of oversimplification in asserting that between 3.6 and 7.9% of total well production escapes into the atmosphere. To arrive at this figure, they subtract the volume of gas delivered from the volume of gas produced and argue that the difference is a loss. However, this conclusion is wrong because it ignores certain known practices, for example: 1) some gases are liquefied (butane, propane) and sold separately; and 2) some compressors along a pipeline are connected directly to the latter due to the lack of electrical power sources.

An American scientist sets the record straight about hydraulic fracturing


In a recent article, the daily Times Union reports that one of New York state’s top scientific experts has found no case of hydraulic fracturing leading to groundwater contamination. As a specialist on the underground features of New York, Taury Smith has been studying hydro-fracking practices for the past three years.

“Those are exaggerated problems; each incident wasn’t the result of hydro-fracking. There were incidents of groundwater contamination near frack sites, but they were unrelated,” Mr Smith said.

Former New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alexander “Pete” Grannis said he agrees with Smith that the dangers of fracking are overblown.

Taury Smith said that allowing fracking would result in a huge boost for New York job creation and for income and business tax revenues.

Hydraulic fracturing in the shale gas industry: a group of independent experts spotlights Louisiana’s good practices


Last week, the State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations (STRONGER), published a report on its examination of government programs that regulate hydraulic fracturing used in shale gas well drilling. The organization concluded that Louisiana and its regulatory bodies stood out for their well-managed programs across the entire state.

Louisiana joins a list of states whose work has already been singled out by STRONGER, including Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

STRONGER is a nonprofit organization that brings together key industry stakeholders, federal agencies such as the United States Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, and environmental groups like the Oil and Gas Accountability Project.

Consult this story at


Natural gas now a better alternative


New York Times journalist and energy specialist, Jad Mouawad, stated in a recent article that the current energy context favours the use of natural gas. In effect, the stability of its pricing and the diversification of its sources – notably through shale gas development – plays in its favour.

Growing preoccupations regarding nuclear energy, the moratorium on development in the Gulf of Mexico following the oil spill of 2010, and the environmental record of coal power plants currently make natural gas the energy source with the best potential for growth.

According to Mouawad, with world energy demand expected to continue to grow in the next decades, analysts expect a new boom in gas consumption. He quotes Lawrence J. Goldstein, an economist at the Energy Policy Research Foundation as saying that “at the end of the day, when you look at the risk-reward equation, natural gas comes out as a winner. It’s a technical knockout.”

The complete article is available on the New York Times website.

QOGA welcomes the BAPE report on the sustainable development of the shale gas industry


Yesterday, our president, Lucien Bouchard, made public the oil and gas industry’s reaction to the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) report on the sustainable development of the shale gas industry in Quebec.

“The recommendations pave the way for a thoughtful and prudent approach that will reassure Quebecers regarding the possibility and desirability of developing the province’s gas resources responsibly,” said Me Lucien Bouchard, president of the QOGA board of directors.

“The government has our support to quickly put in place the measures required to conduct a thorough study and promote an informed debate regarding the collective decisions to be made. Association members wish to make it clear that they will take an active role. Together with all Quebecers, they believe that development of gas resources is not possible unless it serves the public interest.”

You can view the press release issued by QOGA online.

A copy of Mr. Bouchard’s speech is available in French on our website.

An independent expert approves of the controlled development of shale gas


In an article posted on the website of the TV channel Argent on February 28, 2011, Pierre-Olivier Pineau, a professor at HEC Montréal and an expert on sustainable development issues, is reported to state that in his opinion, the shale gas industry has been “unfairly demonized,” and BAPE should give a conditional green light to development of this resource.

Pineau is opposed to the moratorium, believing that shale gas mining is feasible, so long as regulations are enforced.

The article also reports that Pineau feels it would be a mistake to pass up the opportunity presented by this type of energy when public finances are being weakened by an aging population. While he doesn’t agree with those who describe it as a cash pipeline, Pineau believes the industry could provide $200 million a year to the government in royalties in addition to the creation of new jobs and the indirect returns from exploration and mining.

QOGA: Our new president, Mr. Lucien Bouchard, takes office


We warmly welcome Mr. Lucien Bouchard, who became the new president of the Quebec Oil and Gas Association on February 21.

He has granted a number of interviews in order to share his views on shale gas and the direction in which he hopes to steer our organization.

Watch his interview with Anne-Marie Dussault on 24 heures en 60 minutes on RDI.

Read his interview with Yves Boisvert in La Presse.

Tests indicate that fracking water taken from a shale gas well is easy to treat


In a February 19 article in Le Soleil, Jean-François Cliche reports on tests carried out by the City of Trois-Rivières on fracking water from a shale gas well owned by gas company Talisman near Fortierville. The results indicate that the water “was not particularly difficult to treat.”

The tests, which involved some 30 parameters, were carried out in January. According to the article, as is often done to test water toxicity, trout and daphnia were placed for 10 days in untreated fracking water taken from one of 22 cisterns containing fracking water. The trout, which are known to be highly sensitive to pollution, survived, but the daphnia did not. The water processing technician from the City of Trois-Rivières stated that he didn’t know what exactly affected the daphnia more than the trout, but that the matter had to be looked into.

Cliche also reports that even before treatment, the levels of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol found in the fracking water tested in Trois-Rivières met the standards for disposal into the environment. With regard to sulfates, nitrites/nitrates, benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, and barium, it even met the standards for potable water.”

The concentrations of oil and grease were high, however. Yet, as Cliche’s report points out, although the water contained a lot of grease, it was obviously clean enough, even before treatment, for trout to survive in it.

Cliche also posted an article on his blog providing further information on the subject. The blog follows scientific news and issues.

Shale Gas: “Yes” in B.C., “Yes” in New Brunswick. Why “No” in Quebec?


In a February 22 open letter posted on, Gerry Angevine, Senior Economist at the Fraser Institute’s Centre for Energy Studies, argues that shale gas development and mining can be carried out safely and responsibly in a manner that respects the environment.

Angevine adds that shale gas mining has been accepted by governments and communities elsewhere in North America, including in Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas. He urges Quebec not to declare a moratorium, but rather to take immediate action by adopting regulations that protect the environment and ensure property owners receive fair royalties for giving oil and gas companies access to their land.

He also points out that New Brunswick is going forward with the development of its own shale gas deposits according to detailed regulations established at the outset that protect the environment. The government of that province monitors shale gas extraction using a detailed plan, strict regulations, and monitoring mechanisms.

The full article describes the New Brunswick plan and the steps involved in its development.

Lucien Bouchard new President of the Quebec Oil and Gas Association


The Quebec Oil and Gas Association (QOGA) is proud to announce the appointment of former Québec Premier Lucien Bouchard as Chairman of its Board of Directors.

The members of the QOGA Board formalized this recommendation in a meeting this morning. Québec Premier from 1996 to 2001, Lucien Bouchard was also federal Minister of the Environment before becoming Head of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons.

Lucien Bouchard’s appointment will be effective next February 21, when the next QOGA members’ general assembly is scheduled. He is replacing André Caillé, whose mandate has come to term but who will continue to serve as president in the interim. André Caillé will remain a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. The Quebec Oil and Gas Association is grateful for André Caillé’s outstanding service during his mandate.

“I am proud of the work we have accomplished over the past months in driving forward this new development opportunity for Québec. My goal has always been to work in Québec’s best interests. Knowing the work that remains ahead, I am glad to see a man of Lucien Bouchard’s calibre pick up the mantle. I know that he will be able to rally Quebecers around this wealth-creating project,” stated outgoing QOGA President André Caillé.

In Lucien Bouchard’s words: “I view the discovery of major natural gas deposits in Québec as a highly important opportunity for our economic development and the financing of our State’s missions. At the same time, I’m fully aware of the need to proceed with this development, faithfully observing exemplary requirements from the points of view of the environment, public safety, social acceptability and transparency, seeing to it as well it that this development truly build our collective, and not just private-interest, wealth. I shall diligently schedule intensive meetings with the members of the Board of Directors to work out the responsible approach they are committed to follow, in particular with regard to the recommendations to come from the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement. I therefore intend to fulfil my mandate by balancing the concerns and issues of all interested parties, but above all with the assurance that I shall work in the best interests of our society as a whole.”

The Quebec Oil and Gas Association, established in April 2009, aims to continue the development of an industry in Quebec that will be able to produce significant economic benefits for the regions. The QOGA presents and promotes the interests of a responsible and active industry to contribute to energy diversification in Quebec, with respect to the environment and communities. Its members’ mission is to work on the development of Quebec’s energy resources while promoting economic development in Quebec.