Thursday, June 28, 2007

NL in the news

There's a few interesting pieces in the Globe and Mail today which are about, or will impact, this province.

First there are some interesting energy stories having to do with that clean energy, nuclear. I've written before about the nuclear future of the region and these articles take it a step further.

First, there is a story on the explosion in uranium exploration in Labrador (Labrador goes radioactive: A run-up in uranium prices has many people glowing about Labrador's potential). It says, in part:

"What we've done is identified a whole new uranium district in Canada. We're in the process of creating a real, viable alternative to the Athabasca Basin," Mark O'Dea, Aurora's president and chief executive officer said in an interview.

However, Labrador won't be contesting Cameco's home base in Saskatchewan for the title of Canada's uranium capital any time soon. There are massive hurdles facing the development, not the least of which, is the fact that a uranium mine has never operated in the province.

Just for a bit of background, in the last 3 years, the US spot price for uranium concentrate has climbed from $7/lb in to a high of $135/lb.

This is an industry with a great future in the province.

And on the heels of uranium extraction is a ready market within the region in potential new reactors in New Brunswick. They already have the only Canadian reactor east of Ontario and, according this this Globe story (New Brunswick eyes new nuclear reactor) they are ready to build more to serve the US electricity market. The story notes that:
In an interview from Saint John, provincial Energy Minister Jack Keir said New Brunswick is about to launch a feasibility study for a second reactor and the additional transmission capacity that would be required

He said he met with New England energy officials during the PEI session and found them eager for New Brunswick to expand its nuclear capability and ship the power south.

Many U.S. utilities are considering building new reactors themselves. But in New England in particular, they encounter considerable local resistance to new energy projects and would expect battles over new nuclear plants.
Finally, in the world of LNG, Quebec has okayed the Gros-Cacouna LNG terminal, the province's first liquefied natural gas terminal on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Gros-Cacouna, about 250 kilometres east of Quebec City. Their next step is seeking regulatory approval to build a pipeline that will link the LNG terminal's production to the Eastern Canadian distribution network.

Their main LNG competition will include:
  • Rabaska project in Lévis, across the Saint Lawrence River from Quebec City (awaiting approval by a joint federal-provincial environmental panel later next month);
  • New Brunswick's Irving Oil Ltd. announced LNG plant to be built as part of its energy complex in Saint John;
  • Maine's proposed $500-million (U.S.) LNG project on Passamaquoddy Bay which has filed for U.S. regulatory approval, but faces staunch opposition from Canada, through whose waters tankers would pass;
  • Nova Scotia's Keltic Petrochemicals Inc. of Halifax which has received environmental approval from the provincial government in March to build a petrochemical complex, complete with a liquefied natural gas receiving terminal in Goldboro, N.S.
How will this affect the hopes of Newfoundland LNG and their plans to build North America's first LNG storage and transshipment facility at Grassy Point on Placentia Bay in southeastern Newfoundland?

Who knows? But this is for sure: they better get a wriggle on if they don't want to be left behind.

No comments: