NOFRAC response to paper 3: resource estimate

The most recent paper, “The Potential Oil and Gas Resource Base in Nova Scotia Accessible by Hydraulic Fracturing,” does not contain information to support a potential oil and gas base in Nova Scotia.  The paper does not address resource quantification beyond existing wide-ranging estimates, and makes it difficult for a non-technical reader to follow the author’s logic in coming to the papers conclusion.

  • This paper has the tone of a promotional brochure for the oil and gas industry, and does not reflect a balanced conversation about the potential resources, transportation issues, potential local use of the resource, environmental costs, downgrading of resources in other jurisdictions, and potential for higher recovery based on non-existent technologies.
  • The report highlights that companies carefully scrutinize risks and uncertainties for their investment, but there is no mention of the majority of wells in this industry which do not produce economic volumes, nor is there mention of the rare “sweet spots” in this industry- the only source of significant income for many plays across North America.  There is significant discussion right now around natural gas Ponzi schemes, investment bubbles, and downgrades of companies on financial indexes.  These issues are not addressed in either the economic paper nor the resource potential paper.
  • There are considerable inconsistencies around the size of the resource- in some sections stating there is high potential and in others stating that the potential is unknown.
  • This report does not sufficiently cite the source of their information for many sections, making it impossible to assess the credibility of statements.
  • The report makes no mention of existing resource exploration experiences with Triangle or Petroworth- these are significant test cases for this area and would highlight many complicating factors (geology, regulations, enforcement, waste management, etc).
  • The lack of information in this report about the Windsor-Kennetcook basin is an indication that the government does not have the capacity to meaningfully assess or to research Nova Scotia’s geological resources.
  • Since the release of this report, the US government has downgraded the estimate for the Monterey Shale in California.  Since the Monterey is the most similar to the Windsor-Kennetcook basin, it is important to include this information, and describe realistic consequences of resource downgrading, as has occurred across North America.
  • The author introduces the topic of roads and bridges in this chapter without addressing the costs of maintenance and replacement of infrastructure after industrialized traffic passes over them for a number of years.  The road repair priority for the province is a reflection of current road uses and not the industrialized traffic that occurs in rural fracking areas.
  • Resource estimates in the conclusion should be coupled with the likely rate of recovery (5-25%) and any potential downgrade amount in similar plays (95% in the Monterey) to give a more realistic view of the potential resource.
  • Coal bed methane is an important resource to discuss in the Nova Scotia context however a meaningful review would include coal bed methane in every chapter.  As CBM was not mentioned in the previous chapter on economics, it is misleading to mention the resource potential of CBM when the economic costs and benefits have not been previously addressed.


Paper 3 does not provide any additional useful information about the potential oil and gas resource base in Nova Scotia accessible by hydraulic fracturing.  Information provided in this paper, and in papers provided by Dr. Duncan Keppie and the Post Carbon Institute suggest that Nova Scotia is not likely to have significant shale gas resources which could be recoverable through hydraulic fracturing.


– Steering Committee of the Nova Scotia Fracking Resource and Action Coalition

2014-06-04 NOFRAC Response to Paper 3

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