Junex’s Quebec oil breakthrough: Knee-jerk reaction by environmentalists or genuine concerns?

There was good news for an impoverished region of Quebec today, as well as people in the province who use oil imported from outside the province: A Quebec company has struck oil.

Reports The Canadian Press: “Junex Inc. announced Tuesday that it’s recovered through eight months of testing nearly 18,000 barrels of light, sweet crude produced at its Galt No. 4 horizontal well.”

“What we see here is the most significant oil recovery in Quebec’s history,” Junex CEO Peter Dorrins said.

The company is seeking a provincial permit to begin production, and sees itself producing about 240 barrels a day. It says it will earn a profit despite low oil prices.

According to The Canadian Press, “Preliminary estimates say Junex’s Galt property — which would contain several wells — has 557 million barrels of oil, of which about 10 per cent is recoverable.”

But no sooner was the news made public that environmentalists declared that they will oppose the company’s bid for an application. Equiterre said they want Quebec to phase out the use of fossil fuels altogether.Which, you know, is not going to be happening any time soon. People will be using fossil fuels for a long time to come, whether they come from Quebec or elsewhere.

Greenpeace took a more practical approach by calling for an environmental hearing on the subject, which I think is a good idea. What are the risks to the environment from such a project? That should be the No. 1 concern. One plus about this project is it doesn’t involve fracturing, a highly controversial subject in Quebec, The Canadian Press notes in its report.

This has the potential to be a big win-win situation for Quebec. Junex would become the province’s first oil producer in a century, the report says.

But environmentalists may derail the whole thing, leaving Quebecers dependent on fossil fuels from out West and abroad.

It will be interesting to see how this story plays out.

Stay tuned.

— Jillian

Photo credit: Oil rig. (Richard Bartz/Wikimedia Commons)

3 thoughts on “Junex’s Quebec oil breakthrough: Knee-jerk reaction by environmentalists or genuine concerns?

  1. Well, sweet crude would be a step toward cleaner fuels. As opposed to Bakken heavy reserves, the light oil has fewer pollution-causing components, like sulphur, and more of the volatile components, like naphtha, so it burns cleaner.
    (Bakken crude is so dirty that it is piped to Houston and shipped overseas to be cracked at refineries in countries with no pollution controls. Out of sight, out of mind).

    But for industries, power generation and home heating, it is preferred over heavy crude that has to be piped in from other territories. You won’t find many people more interested in clean, renewable energy than me. But, as I said above, a local source of light crude is a step toward a cleaner environment.

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  2. Good analysis by DroneMann.

    Might be another case of the nut-job wing of environmentalists shooting themselves (and all of us) in the foot. Seems environmentalists divide into 2 groups. The first wishes that the air we breath and the water we drink be pure and healthy, and in general the environment be safe and healthy. The second has knee-jerk opposition to everything and anything. They long for some mythical, pre-industrial golden age. Rather ignores that we have a population of over 7 billion people on this planet that need to be fed, and that since the industrial (and post-industrial) era, people are living longer and healthier (average life expectancy of a hunter-gather society is less than 40 years). A prime example might be the carbon tax. All environmentalists are pro-carbon tax as a concept. However in Washington state, they just failed a referendum on it. Environmentalist there opposed the carbon tax because the state was going to lower sales tax to make the new tax revenue neutral; these brilliant minds wanted to keep all existing taxes plus add a carbon tax to fund whatever wonderful plans they had. Never mind they could have gotten the carbon tax they wanted, they wanted everything and in the end got nothing.

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