Natural Gas in Canada
Natural gas is one of the fastest-growing sources of energy in the world. Many in the energy sector see it as a game-changer; it is a cleaner, more affordable and highly versatile fossil fuel, especially for power and heat generation.
And Canada is lucky to have this critical natural resource in abundance, exemplified by the fact that we are the fifth-largest producer and sixth-largest exporter of natural gas globally.
Natural Gas in Canada: Facts
- The oil and gas sector supports nearly 500,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country
- Canada has the 17th largest proven natural gas reserves - about 1% of global supply
- Canada is also home to the world's 5th largest unproved but technically recoverable shale gas resources - about 8% of global supply, similar in volume to U.S. shale gas reserves
- 98% of natural gas produced in Canada is from the western provinces, while over 70% of the population lives east of Manitoba
- 46% of Canadian production is exported to the United States
- Canada's net natural gas exports (exports minus imports) was valued at $9.6 billion in 2021
- 99% of U.S. imports and 9% of U.S. consumption came from Canada in 2021
- 97% of Canada’s imports and 20% of Canadian consumption came from the U.S. in 2021
- Canada’s natural gas producers follow some of the strictest environmental regulations in the world
- Canada is a global leader in methane emissions reductions from oil and gas production
Source: Natural Resources Canada - Energy Factbook 2022-2023
Canada Must Reach New Markets
Hundreds of thousands of Canadians in the energy sector work hard to provide our society with the energy it needs. Any product not used domestically is sent to the U.S., our only export market, where it is bought at a steep discount and costs our economy tens of millions of dollars a day.
In recent years, the U.S. has increased its own natural gas production considerably, allowing more domestic supply to meet demand and decreasing its own reliance on Canadian imports. In fact, new production from massive shale gas plays like the Marcellus formation has resulted in an increase of natural gas imports from the U.S. into eastern Canada. Meanwhile, the U.S. is focused on building several new liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants to facilitate exports to Asia, Europe and other parts of the world.
Canada needs to start rethinking its natural gas export strategy before it gets left behind in the global LNG race. The world's top producers like Australia, Qatar and the U.S. are already a decade ahead of Canada in developing their LNG export sectors and are continuing to move forward with more new projects over the next several years.
Canadians have an incredible opportunity to provide the world with the natural gas it needs as the transition to cleaner fossil fuels and renewable electricity ensues over the coming decades. For example, global demand for LNG is projected to soar by as much as 76% by 2040 according to Shell's LNG Outlook 2023.
With our vast natural gas reserves and existing renewable energy infrastructure, Canada can build some of the lowest-GHG emitting liquefaction facilities in the world, powered in part or fully by renewable electricity. It's a once-in-a-generation chance that will usher in a new era of prosperity for Canadians, advance economic reconciliation with Indigenous communities, and help reduce net global emissions all at once.
Canada’s Clean LNG Opportunity
• LNG can help lower GHG emissions by displacing higher-emitting coal power and heat generation abroad
• A recent analysis by Desjardins found a fully developed LNG Canada could reduce global CO2 emissions by an amount equal to 15 per cent of Canada’s overall GHG emissions
• To put that into perspective, a 15% reduction of Canada’s overall GHG emissions is equivalent to removing about 18 million cars off the road annually
• Three independent life-cycle analyses conducted by Stanford University, University of British Columbia and University of Calgary indicated a switch from coal to natural gas could accomplish a 34-62% reduction in CO2 emissions per unit of electricity generated
• LNG Canada in British Columbia is projected to operate with about 50% of the GHG emission intensity of the global LNG facility average, producing the most competitive carbon footprint gas in the world
• B.C.'s floating Cedar LNG export facility is projected to have an emissions intensity of just 0.08% of CO2 per tonne of LNG produced, less than one-third the global industry average of 0.35 per cent per tonne.
• Ksi Lisims LNG, another Indigenous-led project in B.C., has committed to net-zero emissions by 2030 - not long after it may become operational
• A 2023 study by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has found that switching just 20% of Asia's many coal plants to natural gas would 'save a Canada' in net global emissions - equivalent to 680 megatonnes (MT) of CO2 emissions annually.
Join Us Today!
Global demand for natural gas is projected to increase for decades to come as the world makes the transition toward using cleaner sources of energy. As one of the most environmentally responsible natural gas producers with some of the lowest GHG-intensive LNG facilities on the planet, Canada needs to find new markets for its gas while vying for as much global market share as possible.
Canadians have an immense opportunity to create billions of dollars in economic activity and government revenues plus tens of thousands of long-term jobs here at home while reducing emissions on a global scale.
What’s good for the future of Canada’s natural gas industry is good for the global environment; why wouldn’t we seize the opportunity for long-term jobs, government revenues and GHG reductions while it’s here!?
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