On green cars & shale gas

Contributed to The Toronto Star
Tom Huffaker
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
February 03, 2012

Re: "Why natural gas is not a friendly fuel"
Toronto Star, January 27, 2012, by Peter Gorrie


As Peter Gorrie acknowledges, natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. It burns 50 per cent cleaner than coal, according to Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

Heavy-duty trucks and buses running on natural gas emit 15 to 25 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel trucks and buses, with virtually zero air smog-causing pollutants.

That's why Honda's natural gas Civic is Green Car Journal's Green Car of the Year, and why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls all versions of the Civic Natural Gas "the cleanest internal-combustion vehicle on Earth."

Yet Gorrie would like Canadian consumers to ignore environmental-performance facts and numerous awards because of where natural gas comes from, which is increasingly from shale formations thousands of meters below ground.

Canada's natural gas producers are familiar with concerns about hydraulic fracturing and water use in shale gas development, and where there are issues, we are addressing them. Further, given natural gas' considerable benefits when used as a fuel, benefits to our economy and our public coffers, safe development of Canada's abundant natural gas resources should be advanced and supported, not casually dismissed.

Gorrie quotes U.S. President Barack Obama's recent promise his administration "will take every possible action" to develop shale gas. Canadians need to pay attention to the President's words, too. Today Canada is the world's third-largest producer of natural gas. We have fractured more than 175,000 wells in Canada and done so safely. We are a global leader, and just as the U.S. aims to develop its natural gas resources safely to benefit its citizens, we must do likewise for the benefit of ours.

The International Energy Agency says the Golden Age of Gas is coming. Canada should not be left behind.

For more information, visit www.canadasnaturalgas.ca.

Tom Huffaker
Vice-President, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Calgary, Alberta