Oil company making a difference with presentations: Murray

Cory
Cory Hurley
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CORNER BROOK  The president and CEO of Black Spruce  Exploration Corp. says his main priority in oil development on the west coast is to bring Newfoundlanders back home.

David Murray, president and CEO of Black Spruce  Exploration Corp., spoke at the Rotary Club of Corner Brook luncheon Thursday, May 30, 2013.

Thursday, David Murray continued the company’s attempts to educate people amid local concerns and criticism over the controversial hydraulic fracturing technique proposed to be used to explore and develop oil.

“It’s not the money,” he said following a presentation to the Rotary Club of Corner Brook.

“Having been away from my family for the last 15 years, working on and off a plane, I get why men and women need to be home with their children and be together and have that business opportunity here.”

Murray was also in Lark Harbour Wednesday evening, where discussions about the project in nearby Little Port and hydraulic fracturing generated a heated discussion during a public information session in April.

The meeting in the south shore of the Bay of Islands town Wednesday was attended by about 70 or 80 people, he said. He felt good about the presentation, and his ability to educate people and answer their questions or concerns.

“When residents heard that type of presentation, it was like, ‘Thank goodness you came and explained this to us because we didn’t understand this before,’” he said. “ ... We want people to be better informed. We want to be a good citizen, a part of the community, and have people understand what the business opportunity is here.”

Murray said people in western Newfoundland are unaware of the process, and relatively unaware of the oil and gas industry. In places like Western Canada — where he said hydraulic fracturing is commonplace — there is little opposition or concern for new technologies. The same can be true for areas in the United States like Texas and Oklahoma, he said.

Similar to western Newfoundland, the president said he experienced opposition in Colorado 11 years ago. He said it’s a case of being unaware of the industry as opposed to being against development.

“There are a lot of stereotypes associated with the industry, that aren’t accurate,” he said. “Our highest priority, as we said to the residents of that community (Lark Harbour) is safety. That means safety in the way we operate and the way we consider things for the environment.”

Murray said company officials want to work with residents, and are open to suggestions about how they can do things differently or better.

He compared Newfoundland, in terms of oil and gas potential, to that of North Dakota. About 10 years ago that state had a population of just under a half-million people, which has now almost doubled. The unemployment rate dropped from 9.8 per cent to three per cent, he said.

Murray said there is the same geological opportunity to create an industry on the west coast. They have entered into agreements with both Shoal Point Energy and Ptarmigan Resources. They are expecting to drill three wells — Shoal Point, Little Port and Sally’s Cove — with the likelihood of a fourth well depending on the results.

The business will also have a local presence, with an office already established in Corner Brook and St. John’s, and plans to erect a warehouse later this year.

The first year (2013) will mainly be study and prove the oil is present. Year two (2014) is expected to double the number of wells to eight, possibly more, to establish how to get the oil out most economically. Once all that is in place, a specific, large development plan could happen in 2015.

churley@thewesternstar.com

Twitter: WS_CoryHurley

Organizations: Rotary Club of Corner Brook, Ptarmigan Resources

Geographic location: Lark Harbour, Little Port, Newfoundland Bay of Islands Western Canada United States Texas Oklahoma North Dakota Corner Brook

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  • Willie Wonka
    June 08, 2013 - 16:42

    Just checked one of your 'facts' MR MURRAY about which you state that North Dakota has almost doubled it's population in the past ten years. Well according to Wikipedia the current 2013 is estimated at 699,628. In 2000 it was 642,200 and in 1990 it was 638,800. Are your other 'facts' just as accurate and honest. I always thought that a person that 'stretches' the 'truth' is certainly not to be believed no matter what he says---and should be avoided at all costs. Piece of work for sure!

  • Graham Oliver
    June 04, 2013 - 16:42

    Mr. W.T. David Murray says there are no problems with hydraulic fracturing in other provinces where fracking is commonplace, then why did the National Farmers Union, led by a large group of very concerned farmers from Alberta, pass a landmark resolution at their national convention calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing of subsurface oil and gas formations. ( http://www.nfu.ca/node/187 ) ( http://www.albertasurfacerights.com/articles/?id=1654 ) The Campbell Family of Alberta also had contamination problems with their water and are willing to give testimony to how fracking affected the water table on their ranch. (Fracking in Canada http://www.frackingcanada.ca/alberta-the-campbells/ ) Why does Mr. David Murray constantly state 200,000 wells drilled in Canada were fracked and not one problem? Contrary to what he states, there are major problems in Alberta with contamination of drinking water. S Stick to the facts Mr. Murray, it is important that Newfoundlanders stand up and ask questions. When good people do nothing, bad things happen.

  • TC
    June 03, 2013 - 14:14

    How many people here are in some way supported by the Corner Brook pulp and paper mill? Doesn't it use water? Does this water have to be treated? Is the mill not the source for the "NICE" sulfur odor in the city and surrounding area? Would you oppose it if it were to start up today instead of years ago? Is this plant safe to operate without "ANY" polution? If so, is it safe because of proper regulation and enforcement? How many trees die every day to keep this plant running? (Clear cut land is not so scenic by the way). Concerned about your children's future? How about providing a future here in NL so that our kids do not have to move away to make a living? Would you rather these CEO's just stay in Houston or Calgary and not make an appearence? What would you say then? As for the comment: "Make these CEO's live in the area and drink the water". How about YOU put your mouth over YOUR car exhaust and breath that air. The same fumes YOU put into MY / OUR athmosphere everyday. Lets not be Hypocrites people. Here in NL we are heavily supported by government coffers which are heavily suppored by Oil and Gas royalities which you have no problem using. Again Hypocrisy. The 3-4 wells drilled this summer will not make a big economic difference to the area. It will make a huge economic difference a few years down the road if the field is found to be feasible to develop. Why can't we develop this resource responsibily? Why can't we have strict regulation, strict governing and strict pentalities. Why would you want to kill something that could be good even before you know all the facts? And YES most people are ignorant to the industry. Most people are scared by the fear / scare groups (who by the way have THEIR own agendas as well). Yes oil companies are driven by the Almighty dollar as is every company both large and small such as the company you are working for right now, but that doesn't mean that both they and WE can benefit from this. It is proven that it can be done responsibily and safely we just need to make sure that IT IS done responsibly.

  • Sylvain
    June 02, 2013 - 21:13

    According to Mr. Murray, "In places like Western Canada — where he said hydraulic fracturing is commonplace — there is little opposition or concern for new technologies" Mr. Murray is unaware of the recent survey by Alberta Oil, a famous oil industry magazine : http://www.albertaoilmagazine.com/2012/05/survey-results-hydraulic-fracturing/ - 41.1% of Albertans think that hydraulic fracturing puts drinking water at risk. - Only 22.4% of Albertans trust oil and gas companies when they say hydraulic fracturing is safe. - 38,3% of Albertans think we should suspend hydraulic fracturing until we know more about the possible environmental impacts of the practice. This is a level of "comfort" far inferior to what Mr. Murray talked about in the interview !!! We want the truth, Mr. Murray... the truth !!

  • Holly Simon
    June 02, 2013 - 10:25

    Read through this...it might give everyone a better idea of what the shareholders think. http://www.stockhouse.com/companies/bullboards/c.shp?s=shp&t=list&f=26&l=50&c=2&r=0 If you read through em all, personally, I don't take lightly to be considered "misinformed" when I know I am indeed informed - I've been reading up on this form of drilling ever since it started making the news about 5-6 years ago. Tell Mr. Murray that if he wants to convince us, tell him to convince the Gov of NL and the gas regulators to drop our gas price down to .50 cents a liter. For the west coast only. Then we will be all getting something out of it. From my POV right now all we will get out of it is the pollution, health problems and cleanup. Oh and most of us would have to drive an hr at 1.40 average a liter to get to a job that's going to kill you in the long run for the vapors that's around you - forgive me If I don't see the gain at all. However, I think everyone should think of this as a moral decision - it will have long-lasting consequences.

  • Holly Simon
    June 02, 2013 - 10:23

    Read through this...it might give everyone a better idea of what the shareholders think. http://www.stockhouse.com/companies/bullboards/c.shp?s=shp&t=list&f=26&l=50&c=2&r=0 If you read through em all, personally, I don't take lightly to be considered "misinformed" when I know I am indeed informed - I've been reading up on this form of drilling ever since it started making the news about 5-6 years ago. Tell Mr. Murray that if he wants to convince us, tell him to convince the Gov of NL and the gas regulators to drop our gas price down to .50 cents a liter. For the west coast only. Then we will be all getting something out of it. From my POV right now all we will get out of it is the pollution, health problems and cleanup. Oh and most of us would have to drive an hr at 1.40 average a liter to get to a job that's going to kill you in the long run for the vapors that's around you - forgive me If I don't see the gain at all. However, I think everyone should think of this as a moral decision - it will have long-lasting consequences.

  • Dominic House
    June 01, 2013 - 16:26

    Objection is futile. IT WILL GO AHEAD. I have seen too much fear mongering over the years. It does not affect the people who finally make the decisions.

  • sean whelan
    June 01, 2013 - 11:20

    All for development but not at any cost

  • roy rowsell
    June 01, 2013 - 09:25

    Mr. murray did a great job in his presentation at Lark Harbour. Lots more accuracies then what the fearmongering group did in the meeting at Lark Harbour before. He seemed open and concerned for the people. He wasn’t as bad as the person that said he was retired and got his money and didn’t care about the economic benefits . Was he Joe?

  • Sean whelan
    June 01, 2013 - 07:50

    Fracking in shallow shale? Just say NO!

  • Kathy
    May 31, 2013 - 22:46

    Bill Murray, who do you really think you're fooling when you say your main priority is to bring Newfoundlanders back home? Do you think for one second there's a Newfoundlander among us who would believe for a second that you care one iota about our welfare or our province. To actually have said that " it's not about the money" ... is totally eye-rolling. Who are you kidding? To say how unaware we are of the oil and gas industry and the whole process demonstrates how imperceptive you are. We love our west coast for all it has to offer as we have for generations. What you'd like to see doesn't fit in with what we cherish about this place. Maybe there will be a day well into the future this can happen and be done safely, but it certainly isn't now. So, Mr. Murray, go home already and leave ours alone!

  • Marjorie Robertson
    May 31, 2013 - 19:47

    "It's not the money “ states W. T. David Murray of Black Spruce Explorations in his petroleum punch presentation in Corner Brook on fracking. He has come to save ignorant and poverty- stricken Newfoundlanders by industrializing rural communities. Since we can't read or use a computer we are misinformed and fact less and unable to assess the effects of fracking. We are misinformed and need a prophet to lead and protect us. We desperately need the industry's guidance on fracking utopia. The condescension is dripping from his slick persona and the slickness is blinding.

  • Joe
    May 31, 2013 - 18:51

    The CEO of BSE is nothing more than an arrogant (*&^%, all he did the other night was baffle everyone with his BS and his condescending way of speaking to everyone at the meeting was disgraceful for a person in his position. But I guess that's why his net worth is more than all the residents of LH and YH all put together. Oil CEO's don't get to where they are because they tell the truth and are nice to everyday folks. Concerned citizens asked questions to only be twisted around and not answered by the CEO at all. The way Cory reported this is pathetic, not a single word of the concern for the environmental side effects and the truth. This will be the worlds first sub-ocean unconventional fracking operation, there is no data or any information on how this will effect the ocean floor and what little is left to the fishery. This will NOT make LH the Fort Mac of NL, this will at best provide a dozen jobs for 6-8 weeks while the well is drilled and fracked, after that there may be 2-4 security jobs at minimum wadge. This is not economic growth, this is selling out to the rich to make the rich even richer. I say if the CEO and his cronies really believe their own lies as truth, build or buy a house within the 500m testing zone of the rig and live there until the well does not pump any more, send your kids to our school and drink the water from the well dug on your property near the house and rig. If there are willing to do this I will give them my unconditional support.

  • Don
    May 31, 2013 - 16:22

    We have been getting much the same pitch here in New Brunswick. It seems that all the oil and gas public relations personnel sing from the same hymn book, one created with millions of dollars paid to advertising companies, that employ psychologists who think everyone is stupid enough to believe their song and dance.

  • Appalled
    May 31, 2013 - 15:27

    First this guy says that bringing people home is first priority, then he says safety is first priority. He will also likely say "contributing to the tax base" is first priority. WHEN IN REALITY the FIRST AND ONLY PRIORITY of these outfits is PROFIT. How condescending for this company to feel it has to "educate" these poor people from NL, who are obviously so ignorant they have to come out to a public meeting to talk to someone in a suit (who has a monetary interest in their 'education') in order to get edumucated. What garbage. Don't fall for it people.

    • Graham Oliver
      June 01, 2013 - 15:36

      You make a great point.

  • Anne
    May 31, 2013 - 14:46

    Keep in mind that they have not yet shown that ANY oil can be recovered from these shales, let alone be recovered at a price that is competitive in a global market. So this is all speculation and false promises. So it's not about money is it? I'm sure the shareholders of Shoal Point Energy who are counting on the value of their stocks increasing would argue with that! It's all about money. The reality is that oil exploration companies make their money based on the perception of value - not by contributing real goods and services that actually benefit people.

  • Euphemia
    May 31, 2013 - 13:04

    Do you get it yet.This is the LAST big run by these big chemical guys. The water is lucked up,once you go there.Water is now more precious than ever,because of fracking world wide. The Bushes over the last 20 yrs.have purchased most of Paraguay and all it's water rights,what will you have. What did Tommy Marshall get out of his tax payer trip,truthfully, this is the future of the children at stake,our seed... our children.This is all about $$$$$$$$$$,NO WATER, NO LIFE. And in closing, Do not eat the GMO food,it will kill our kind off, slowly but surely. Sterile,sickly people from all the GMO Bt corn and GMO Bt soy. Most of us for the last 15 to 20 yrs , we have been eating it. Feeding ground cow meat to cows,putting genes from animals and round up chemicals in our vegetables..Sick sick.God help us all.. Fracking is worse than we know. We can be healed and so can our only home, the earth +

  • Paul Hunt
    May 31, 2013 - 11:38

    Don't compare western Newfoundland geology to that of North Dekota. There the oil and gas is shallow and close to the surface so when fractured it occasionally migrates into the water table and artisian wells. The reservoir in the eastern gulf is, if memory serves me correct, a couple of kilometers down. This is not to say that the utmost caution should be undertaken but the two regions do not have much in common. I am all for development

  • Stripes
    May 31, 2013 - 09:03

    Typical reaction Dave--scared of economic growth and prosperity--what's next on your list of "to scary for me, let's protest"

    • Dave
      May 31, 2013 - 10:48

      Scared of economic growth? Naw you miss the point stripes. Toxic air, poisoned ground water, dead wildlife, dead fishery. Yup I'm scared, downright paranoid. http://www.thewesternstar.com/Opinion/Letter-to-the-Editor/2013-05-16/article-3249368/Fracking/1

  • Dave
    May 31, 2013 - 08:09

    So there was no discussion of the environmental and social effects of this industry. Thank goodness we have David Murray to allay the fears of all us uninformed folk. "It's not the money"? Let's buy our buddy Dave a one way flight ticket to North Dakota. What a pant load.