The province has a better picture of the natural gas market and its challenges after a commissioned study released today, July 31, by Energy Minister Charlie Parker.
The Future of Natural Gas Supply in Nova Scotia, looks at options to access natural gas from the U.S.
, and the costs and benefits to meet current and growing demand.
“The study provides us with a better understanding of the market,” said Mr. Parker. “The spike in gas prices last winter highlighted that as our natural gas demand increases and our domestic production begins to decrease, we need to take steps to ensure continued access to competitively priced natural gas.
“The study identifies possible ways to accomplish this over the medium and long term.”
It examined supply and demand scenarios that could impact natural gas availability and cost, and identified ways that might bring more stable prices for Nova Scotia consumers. Industry representatives provided information and insights into the Maritimes gas market.
The study found when demand is highest in winter, Nova Scotia is forced to purchase natural gas from the congested New England market, which inflates the cost to deliver natural gas to the province. To help combat this, the report identifies potential long-term solutions for the Maritimes, including:
— the need for firm capacity commitments for a new pipeline into New England to help reduce the bottleneck at peak times
— natural gas storage in Nova Scotia to help manage price volatility during peak periods.
The Energy Department has met with most of the companies that provided information to the study, and continues to champion a regional approach to natural gas issues.
At the recent Atlantic Energy Ministers’ meeting in Pictou, the provinces, their utilities, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency agreed to work together through the Atlantic Energy Gateway to develop a regional approach. to natural gas supply issues.
“This study addressed longer-term solutions. Our utilities are working on strategies for the immediate challenges of accessing competitively priced natural gas,” said Mr. Parker. “Regional collaboration will also help to find solutions.”
The study, prepared by ICF Consulting Canada, Inc., was awarded through a request for proposals. It is available at http://novascotia.ca/energy/publications/The-Future-of-Natural-Gas-Supply-for-Nova-Scotia.pdf .