Canada controls large unconventional natural gas formations and reserves, which could be developed in part by hydraulic fracturing. These reserves have an estimated market value of up to $4.6 trillion, the study notes. In Quebec alone, shale gas deposits are worth between $70 billion and $140 billion at current natural gas prices.

Besides New Brunswick, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have all imposed moratoriums or banned fracking.

Last week, a group of university and private sector analysts released a report on shale gas that included an economic study that predicted New Brunswick could create between 5,900 and 7,900 full-time jobs, both directly and indirectly, if the industry annually drilled between 150 and 200 wells. That would translate into between $1.4 billion and $1.8 billion in economic growth.

Another report released this week by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies stated that shale gas could help enrich the region.

*This article appeared in the Daily Gleaner, Telegraph Journal, and the Times and Transcript on 12 December 2014