Halifax – Another opportunity lost. With the dramatic announcement of the suspension of activities around Hebron Ben Nevis we have further evidence of the ongoing decline of the east coast oil and gas industry.

One can only hope that New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord has learned the lesson and won’t repeat it. While his colleagues in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have been battling the big boys, locally-grown little guy Corridor Resources has been quietly adding to its on-land gas reserves in New Brunswick. The most recent gas find at the McCully field was announced just this week. So far the Lord government has let Corridor do its work without the confrontational attitude of his fellow Eastern premiers.

In a series of commentary pieces, AIMS authors have been making the case that continued obstinacy on the part of governments in Atlantic Canada would see further decline in energy related investment here on the east coast.

As AIMS President Brian Lee Crowley wrote about the offshore in a column in April 2005, “The problem with spoiling your reputation is that once people have come to mistrust you, once they find your word is not reliable, once they discover that you care only about yourself and never about others, they stop taking an interest in you. Then even if you do better, it takes a long time to get anyone to notice.” In the article he drew a parallel between the damage the BC government did to its reputation in the mining industry, and the decades it has taken to attract mining investment back on the one hand, and the behaviour of east coast governments in the offshore.

Peter Fenwick, AIMS Fellow on Newfoundland and Labrador Issues went further in a piece just last month: “Newfoundland has a basic decision to make when it comes to developing the offshore oil industry. Does it want to extort every last job and every last economic benefit from the four fields that have been discovered, and risk discouraging oil companies from ramping up their exploration activity; or does it want a vastly expanded exploration effort spurred on by fair and fixed rules for development once the oil fields have been delineated? It cannot have both. “

The pugilistic reaction of the Williams’ government to the announcement of the suspension of Hebron Ben Nevis recalls the words of Dr. Crowley just 12 short months ago, “Not only can it happen here [i.e. losing our reputation], but it has. And we are still in denial about it. What a way to treat the region’s greatest economic opportunity in a generation.”

Click here to read “Reputation Lost: How Atlantic Canada Lost its Chance With the Oil and Gas Industry”.

Click here to read “The Rules of Oil and Gas: Why Newfoundland’s Offshore is Drying Up”

Click here to read “Hebron Ben Nevis: Jobs or Cash?

Click here to read “What Real Offshore Benefits Would Look Like and How to Get Them.”


For further information, contact:

Brian Lee Crowley
President, Atlantic Institute for Market Studies

Peter Fenwick
AIMS Fellow on Newfoundland & Labrador Issues

Barbara Pike
AIMS Director of Communications
902-446-3543 – o ; 902-452-1172 – cell