Long before New Brunswickers were using natural gas in their homes (at least this time around – gas was used 100 years ago in Moncton) my father used to intone “now you are cooking with gas” when someone was getting traction on an issue. He also used to use his own version of Miramichi colloquialisms such as “you are crazier than ol’ hardwood ever dared to be” or “you have more xx than you can shake a stick at”. I never really understood any of them.
Now I understand the phrase “cooking with gas” as I have seen the merits of a gas-fired cooking stove. For most people, gas stoves are far superior than electric stoves.
I have written about this before but I think it remains a key part of the debate in New Brunswick. In much of Canada and the United States natural gas is widely used for heating and cooking in the home. In some jurisdictions 50 percent or more of households have natural gas coming into their homes.
I think this lack of natural gas usage in New Brunswick is part of the reason why people are ‘scared’ of shale gas and why the side promoting the development of the industry has moved the argument into the usage camp. They are now talking about us using our natural gas in our homes and businesses rather than some abstract economic argument.
This is a good angle as it looks like gas from offshore Nova Scotia will dry up by around 2017 and gas via LNG into Saint John is way too expensive. We could go from a jurisdiction with ample, diverse supplies of natural gas (circa 2010) to an orphaned market (circa 2017) where gas has to be piped in from the southern U.S. or western Canada with substantial tolls.
For most New Brunswickers, I would think, it might seem a little strange to be importing natural gas that was extracted using hydraulic fracturing thousands of miles away when we have it right under our feet.