Weledeh MLA and environmentalist Bob Bromley has called a recent assessment of oil reserves in the central NWT “hollow”.
Last week, Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB), working with the NWT’s Geological Survey, announced that two shales in the Sahtu region are home to nearly 200 billion barrels of oil.
David Ramsay, the territorial minister of industry, tourism and investment, told Moose FM those numbers are “staggering” and exciting for the Northwest Territories.
However, any extraction would require fracking, which remains a highly contentious issue in the territory.
Bromley told Moose FM the findings didn’t surprise him, but that it was interesting to have them confirmed.
Whether or not those resources are actually extracted is a different story.
“It’s a bit of a hollow factoid if you will because we can’t afford to take that oil in the ground and combust it without pushing us over into dangerous levels of climate change,” he said.
“This oil is in a form that’s essentially like cement, you can hardly even smell the oil in it because it’s so dispersed in such fine quantities.
“Typically with fracking, when they try to get that out, they might get 2% to 4% of it and the rest they can’t get at economically.
“The companies are not interested, it’s very expensive to get at and there’s no way we should be getting at all of it with science telling us we’ll be destroying the future of humankind.”
The GNWT is proposing a new regulatory framework to govern fracking in the territory, and is giving the public a say in how it’s drafted.
Yellowknife residents will get a chance to voice their opinions on June 15.
“So many people have said we simply need to shelve the idea of fracking,” Bromley added.
“It simply isn’t sustainable and there are so many risks that the science is proving aren’t manageable.”
Meanwhile, a poll of Moose FM listeners suggests you don’t support fracking in the NWT.
More than two thirds of people responding to our survey said the territory should not go ahead with fracking, even if it means huge economic benefits. Just 28% support the practice.