New Brunswick takes it on the chin from the Fraser Institute

Province ranks No. 102 on think-tank's worst-investment list

August 31, 2012

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Newfoundland and Labrador has its offshore oil industry. Prince Edward Island has Anne of Green Gables. Nova Scotia has the Trailer Park Boys. But the fourth Atlantic province – New Brunswick – seems to have nothing to hang its hat on.

However, the Fraser Institute may have fixed that with the release of its Global Petroleum Survey 2012 in June. In the survey, New Brunswick earned the dubious distinction as the worst place in Canada to invest in oil and gas. The annual survey also ranked the province an underwhelming 102 among 147 jurisdictions overall.

That’s not something New Brunswick Premier David Alward will be crowing about in the next speech from the throne. On the bright side, it could have been worse.

Here are some regions New Brunswick (barely) beat out:

#117: South Sudan
Oil rich but war torn, the nation – which gained its independence from Sudan last July after 50-plus years of civil war – is unstable even by African standards. Investing in its oil and gas industry is not for the faint of heart. Just ask Talisman Energy Inc.

#137: Nigeria
Rampant corruption? Check. Ethnic violence? Check. Dangerous working conditions? Check. Frequent sabotage of oil infrastructure? Check. Nigeria’s myriad above-ground risks makes New Brunswick look like an investment Shangri la.

#131: Syria
As the nation’s president, Bashar al-Assad, conducts a bloody crackdown against his own people to cling to power, Syria has become a pariah state akin to North Korea and Iran and a “no-go” zone for international investment. A few protests over shale gas drilling in New Brunswick are small potatoes in comparison to Syria’s woes.

#146: Venezuela
The oil and gas industry dislikes the Alward government’s handling of regulations regarding New Brunswick’s shale gas resources, but it’s got nothing on Venezuela. President Hugo Chavez has a well-earned reputation for making fiery anti-American speeches, cozying up to communist leaders and expropriating anything oily and gassy.

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