November 17, 2010 - Press releases
The company stresses the importance of this industry for Quebec's economic and environmental development
Montreal, November 17, 2010 – As part of the public hearings before the Bureau des audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) on the sustainable development of the shale gas industry in Quebec, Gaz Métro today presented a summary of the brief it has submitted to the BAPE. The summary emphasized the three main points made in the brief: the reliability and safety of the Gaz Métro network, the growth potential of the natural gas industry in Quebec and the economic and environmental benefits that could result from the development of the natural gas industry.
"As an expert in the natural gas distribution and energy sector, Gaz Métro hopes to shed light on the thought process that is currently under way. We want to raise public awareness about the benefits that Quebec is currently enjoying as a result of shale gas production, which is already being done elsewhere in the Americas, and draw attention to the advantages that could be derived from the arrival of this industry in the province," said Martin Imbleau, Gaz Métro's Vice President, Operations and Major Projects, at the beginning of his presentation to BAPE commissioners.
Natural gas accounts for nearly 11% of the energy used in Quebec. It powers our schools, our hospitals, our industries and our homes and is currently available at a very competitive price, in large part because of increased shale gas production, mainly in the United States. Higher production means a lower price, which is good news not only for Gaz Métro customers but also for Quebec as a whole. In the past two years, the low price of natural gas has served as an incentive for many consumers to switch from heavy fuel oil. The direct result has been a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Quebec, to the tune of nearly 0.5 million tonnes.
"We are therefore already reaping the positive economic and environmental effects associated with shale gas production. Developing the potential of the industry in Quebec would help keep prices low in the medium term. This would facilitate the switch to natural gas from polluting energy sources that produce more GHG emissions and thereby improve Quebec's environmental performance," Mr. Imbleau said.
Oil represents a 38% slice of the energy pie in Quebec – almost as much as electricity. Moreover, Quebec holds the dubious distinction of being Canada's largest consumer of heavy fuel oil, accounting for 50% of national usage. Adopting natural gas as an alternative to more polluting sources of energy, such as heavy fuel oil, light fuel oil and diesel, is a meaningful and immediate contribution to the fight against GHG emissions.
Gaz Métro asserted that any discussion about a society's energy requirements cannot focus exclusively on a single energy source within a limited territory. Energy and environmental matters must be looked at from a big picture perspective. Climate change is an issue that transcends borders. Using natural gas is a way to bring about an immediate reduction to GHG emissions on a global scale.
The energy sector is a complementary one. Shale gas produced in Quebec would not take the place of renewable sources of energy. Instead it would replace natural gas supplies from Western Canada or serve as an alternative to more polluting methods.
"Increasing the use of natural gas in certain situations would mean an immediate reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The opportunity that is being presented to the people of Quebec is, in this regard, a unique one," stated Mr. Imbleau at the end of his presentation. "It's up to us to turn it into a lasting source of collective prosperity."
Gaz Métro overview
With over $3.6 billion in assets, Gaz Métro is Quebec's leading natural gas distributor. Operating in this regulated industry for over 50 years, Gaz Métro has become the trusted energy provider to some 182,000 customers in Quebec and 136,000 customers in Vermont while developing the skills and expertise needed to diversify beyond natural gas. Gaz Métro's prudent growth strategy has been marked by the successful entry into electricity distribution in Vermont and development of wind power projects in Quebec. Offering historically strong and stable distributions and showing a competitive spirit, Gaz Métro is committed to its customers, partners, employees and the community. www.gazmetro.com
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