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Mayor’s Report – November 7, 2013

Meet the Mayor

November 7, 2013

On managing our expectations.  Just what do we expect?  What should we expect?

I recently heard a report on managing expectations and it kept me up in the night.  In fact, I got out of bed at two a.m. wide awake and ready to get things done.  At four I was still awake and working but went back to bed on principle.  Morning comes softly at the same time no matter how much work we put behind us in the quiet of the night.

A few months ago I wrote a piece on the need to get our act together if we intended to benefit from the alleged super market for liquefied natural gas in Asia.  If we are sincerely interested in draining off our natural gas reserves to flaming Asian markets, it is even more important today to get our act together quickly.  (I am not advocating for or against fracking or pumping water out of our surface and sub-surface aquifers.  I am simply saying that the day is far spent and there are other players active in the business.)

Potential buyers of BC gas in Asia are not naïve.  They are shrewd, experienced business promoters who usually get what they want.  They know how to play the field and get the most for their yen (Japan), renminbi (China), ringgit (Malaysia), and rupee (India) and we should never assume that they are simply waiting for the gas to start flowing so they can start paying.

There are other potential suppliers including nearby Russia, a variety of Stans, and Mongolia and China no doubt have shale gas potential only waiting to be exploited.  Western China with the great expanse of Sinkiang that absorbs the outflow of Himalayan snow would be an ideal, out-of-sight location to explore for shale gas, and the vast  Mongolian plains are just over the wall.

My point is that if we intend to sell gas in Asia we had better get serious about it.  By the time a pipeline reaches from the Russian steppes to the great cities of China; by the time a shale gas industry is developed in China, Asia could be dictating the price of BC gas.

Maybe we should be working, not just thinking, toward a robust internal market for our gas reserves.  Clean energy is not the issue.  We all breathe the same air and CO2 vented in Asia is in our noses within a week.  It is hypocritical to preach clean energy and drag our feet on using our own gas while panting to sell it in Asia.

Think of the potential:  gas fired power plants, gas powered transportation (busses, ships, trucks).  Maybe we have almost enough potential consumers in house to maintain a natural gas industry that supports a healthy lifestyle here in the north east.

On managing our expectations?  I think we have to be realistic as well as aggressive as we plan for our futures and work to achieve our dreams.

Merlin Nichols, Mayor