Sempra promised regulators they’d build a new utility, but Nova Scotia is still waiting.
Mark Hand is senior editor for Public Utilities Fortnightly.
It may sound a little unfair. A major gas discovery offshore Nova Scotia-3.5 trillion cf, based on conservative estimates-is generating healthy financial earnings for participating producers and pipelines. But residents and small businesses in Nova Scotia aren't seeing a molecule of gas flowing their way. Officials tell them to wait at least another couple of years to get hooked up because the company that won the utility franchise two years ago opted out of its agreement to develop gas distribution infrastructure in the province.
Atlantic Canada's flirtation with natural gas can be attributed to the fact that the production of major hydrocarbon deposits in the Atlantic Ocean off Nova Scotia finally became an economical prospect for the oil and gas industry in the mid-1990s. By 1999, gas produced from the Sable Offshore Energy Project was coming ashore. But almost all of the 500 million cfd of gas now making its way across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick has a one-way express ticket on Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline to customers south of the Canadian border.