The native Newfoundlander said that growing U.S. shale gas production is rapidly shrinking the market for Canadian exports, and as a result, Western Canadian producers must find new customers in the fast-growing Asian market while facing stiff competition from countries like Australia.

Shell has a major presence in the Montney shale gas play, here in Northeast B.C. and is working with Chinese, Japanese and South Korean companies to determine the feasibility of building a pipeline to B.C.’s Pacific Coast and a liquefied natural gas terminal.

The paper says Ms. Mitchelmore argues it would be an absolute pity not to develop that resource, but has also indicated without an expanded customer base, companies will find it hard to justify the development of  the local area’s Montney and Horn River shale gas plays. She says the prosperity of the entire country hangs in the balance, given that the oil and gas sector is by far the country’s leading export industry.

In an address to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in St. John’s, she said this should be a time of great opportunity for Canada, but she added that, as yet, has not happened, and she argued it won’t happen unless we diversify our customer base for energy products and create access to global growth markets. She said Ottawa needs to move quickly to make its regulatory system more efficient – with clear time lines to conclude reviews – so that companies can commit to multi-billion-dollar projects.

She also challenged provincial governments to streamline their regulatory systems.