Provincial and Territorial Energy Profiles - British Columbia

Table of Contents
  • Figure 1: Hydrocarbon Production

    Figure 1: Hydrocarbon Production

    Source and Description:

    NEB (Crude oil, natural gas)

    This graph shows hydrocarbon production in B.C. from 2006 to 2016. Over this period, increased from 37.4 Mb/d to 61 Mb/d. Natural gas production increased from 2.6 Bcf/d to 4.4 Bcf/d.

  • Figure 2: Electricity Generation by Fuel Type (2016)

    Figure 2: Electricity Generation by Fuel Type (2016)

    Source and Description:


    This pie chart shows electricity generation by source in B.C. A total of 74.5 TW.h of electricity was generated in 2016.

  • Figure 3: Electricity Capacity and Primary Fuel Sources Map

    Figure 3: Electricity Capacity and Primary Fuel Sources in British Columbia Map

    Source and Description:

    NEB, Natural Resources Canada

    This map shows electricity generation facilities in B.C. Facilities are shown by capacity and by primary fuel source.

    PDF version [1320 KB]

  • Figure 4: Crude Oil Infrastructure Map

    Figure 4: Crude Oil Infrastructure in British Columbia Map

    Source and Description:


    This map shows all major crude oil pipelines, rail lines, and refineries in B.C.

    PDF version [440 KB]

  • Figure 5: Natural Gas Infrastructure Map

    Figure 5: Natural Gas Infrastructure in British Columbia Map

    Source and Description:


    This map shows all major natural gas pipelines in B.C.

    PDF version [560 KB]

  • Figure 6: End-Use Demand by Sector (2015)

    Figure 6: End-Use Demand by Sector (2015)

    Source and Description:


    This pie chart shows end-use energy demand in B.C. by sector. Total end-use energy demand was 1 168 PJ in 2015. The largest sector was industrial at 48 % of total demand, followed by transportation (at 29 %), residential (at 12 %), and lastly, commercial (at 11 %).

  • Figure 7: End-Use Demand by Fuel (2015)

    Figure 7: End-Use Demand by Fuel (2015)

    Source and Description:


    This figure shows end-use demand by fuel type in B.C. in 2015. Refined petroleum products accounted for 431 PJ (37 %) of demand, followed by natural gas at 355 PJ (30 %), electricity at 193 PJ (17 %), biofuels at 182 PJ (16 %), and other at 8 PJ (less than 1 %).

    Note: "Other" includes coal, coke, and coke oven gas.

  • Figure 8: GHG Emissions by Sector (2015)

    Figure 8: GHG Emissions by Sector (2015)

    Source and Description:

    Environment and Climate Change Canada – National Inventory Report

    This stacked column graph shows GHG emissions in B.C. by sector every five years from 1990 to 2015 in MT of CO2e. Total GHG emissions have increased in B.C. from 52 MT of CO2e in 1990 to 61 MT of CO2e in 2015.

Energy Production

Crude Oil

  • British Columbia (B.C.) produced 62.6 thousand barrels per day (Mb/d) of crude oil in 2016 (Figure 1). All B.C. production is light oil (conventional light or pentanes plus), and is generally from the northeast portion of the province.
  • B.C.’s production represented 1.6% of total Canadian production, ranking it 4th after Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Refined Petroleum Products (RPPs)

  • B.C. has two refineries with a combined capacity of 70 Mb/d: Husky in Prince George and Parkland in Burnaby.
  • Husky has a capacity of 13 Mb/d and mostly consumes light and synthetic crude oil from western Canada. 
  • Parkland has a capacity of 57 Mb/d and mostly consumes heavier western Canadian crude transported via the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Parkland Fuels acquired the refinery from Chevron in April 2017.

Natural Gas/Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs)

  • In 2016, natural gas production in B.C. averaged 4.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) (Figure 1). B.C.’s production represented about 29% of total Canadian natural gas production in 2016.
  • Natural gas is produced in the northeastern part of B.C., led by the Montney formation. Development of tight gas in the Montney is the primary factor behind B.C.’s gas production doubling between 2006 and 2016.
  • Other significant gas resources are located in the Horn River and Liard Basins. B.C.’s marketable natural gas resource has been assessed by the NEB at 576 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), with 547.5 Tcf remaining at year-end 2015.
  • In 2016, field production of NGLs was 65 Mb/d. B.C.’s NGL production represents about 9% of total Canadian production. Small volumes of propane and butane are also produced at B.C.’s two refineries.
  • AltaGas’ Ridley Island Propane Export Terminal announced a final investment decision in January 2017. The facility will be constructed near Price Rupert and will transport a maximum of 46 Mb/d of propane to Asia-Pacific markets when completed in 2019.

Electricity and Renewables

  • In 2016, B.C. generated 74.5 terawatt hours (TW.h) of electricity (Figure 2), which is approximately 11% of total Canadian generation. B.C. is the 4th largest producer of electricity in Canada and has a generating capacity of 17 717 megawatts (MW).
  • BC Hydro generates most of B.C.’s electricity. Independent power producers operate several smaller hydroelectric plants as well as all the biomass and wind facilities.
  • About 88% of electricity in B.C. is produced from hydroelectric sources. B.C. is home to over 15 700 MW of hydroelectric capacity, most of which is located on the Columbia River in southeastern B.C. and the Peace River in northeastern B.C (Figure 3). Site C, a new large hydroelectric facility, is currently under construction on the Peace River.
  • BC Hydro is also entitled to half of the power generated on the Columbia River in the U.S. as a result of the Columbia River Treaty, which was signed in 1961. The agreement was created to manage water flows and downstream flooding in the United States (U.S.). The Columbia River Basin provides over 40% of B.C.’s electrical power.
  • Biomass, which relies mostly on waste from B.C.’s extensive forestry industry, is used to generate about 9% of B.C.’s electricity. Other sources of power include wind, natural gas, and petroleum (used in off-grid communities).

Energy Transportation and Trade

Crude Oil and Liquids

  • There are two major crude oil pipelines in B.C.: Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline and Pembina’s NEBC/Western Pipeline (Figure 4).
  • The Trans Mountain Pipeline delivers crude oil and refined petroleum products from Edmonton, Alberta to Kamloops, Burnaby, and the U.S. In November 2016, the Government of Canada granted approval for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which would increase system capacity from the current 300 Mb/d to 890 Mb/d.
  • The NEBC/Western Pipeline has a 50 Mb/d capacity and ships crude oil from Taylor, B.C. to the Prince George refinery and to an interconnect with Trans Mountain in Kamloops. The NEBC portion of the system transports liquids, including condensate produced in the Montney region, to Taylor.
  • There are two crude oil rail offloading facilities in B.C., both located in Burnaby. The Parkland refinery has a facility capable of offloading about 7 Mb/d of crude oil. Nearby, Bulk Plus operates a facility capable of offloading about 3 Mb/d of crude oil. 

Natural Gas

  • In general, natural gas produced in B.C. is either: delivered to demand centres in B.C. on pipelines operated by Spectra Westcoast, FortisBC, or Pacific Northern Gas (PNG); exported to Alberta and beyond on TransCanada’s Nova Gas Transmission Limited system; or exported to the U.S. (Figure 5).
  • B.C. natural gas is exported to the U.S. Pacific Northwest at the Huntingdon export point, where Westcoast connects with Williams’ Northwest Pipeline; or exported to the U.S. Midwest via the Alliance Pipeline, which runs through Alberta to the Alameda, Saskatchewan export point.
  • FortisBC distributes gas to approximately 1.1 million customers in 135 communities on over
    2 800 kilometres (km) of pipelines. PNG serves approximately 40 thousand customers in the corridor between Summit Lake and Prince Rupert, and in the Fort St. John and Dawson Creek area. FortisBC and PNG are provincially regulated by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC).

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

  • FortisBC operates the small-scale Tilbury Island LNG facility near Vancouver. The facility has been in operation since 1971 and serves local markets during peak winter demand. Tilbury also provides LNG for fleet vehicles and in recent years started producing LNG for electricity generation in Whitehorse, Yukon and Inuvik, NWT.
  • Tilbury has a current storage capacity of 560 million cubic feet (MMcf) and liquefaction capabilities of 4.7 MMcf/d. An expansion of the facility is scheduled for completion in 2017. Once complete, storage capacity will almost double to 1 025 MMcf and liquefaction capabilities will increase nearly five-fold to 31.7 MMcf/d.
  • Several more small-scale LNG plants are proposed near Fort Nelson, B.C.
  • Many large-scale LNG export facilities have been proposed for the B.C. coast. Since 2010, the NEB has issued 26 natural gas export licenses for B.C. projects. To date, none have started construction, but Pacific Oil & Gas Limited’s Woodfibre LNG project near Squamish did reach a final investment decision in 2016 and clean-up work of the site commenced in 2017.
  • All LNG export facilities would be regulated by the BCUC.


  • In 2016, B.C.’s net electricity exports were 5.5 TW.h. B.C. trades primarily with the U.S., and to a lesser extent, Alberta.
  • On an annual basis, B.C. is occasionally a net importer of electricity but because of its ability to buy electricity from the U.S. when prices are lower and sell to the U.S. when prices are higher, B.C. often has a positive trade revenue balance.
  • B.C. has more than 18 000 km of electricity transmission lines and more than 55 000 km of distribution lines. Four interconnections link B.C.’s electricity system with systems in Alberta and the U.S.

Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

Total Energy Consumption

  • End-use demand in B.C. was 1 168 petajoules (PJ) in 2015. The largest sector for energy demand was industrial at 48% of total demand, followed by transportation at 29%, residential at 13%, and commercial at 11% (Figure 6). B.C.’s total energy demand was the fourth largest in Canada, but the sixth largest on a per capita basis.
  • Refined petroleum products, including gasoline and diesel, were the largest fuel-type consumed in B.C., accounting for 431 PJ, or 37%. Natural gas, electricity and biofuels accounted for 355 PJ (30%), 193 PJ (17%) and 182 PJ (16%), respectively (Figure 7). B.C. is the largest biofuels consumer in Canada   in absolute and in percentage terms   primarily because of its large forestry sector that generates electricity from waste wood.

Refined Petroleum Products

  • Most of the gasoline consumed in B.C. comes from Alberta, delivered primarily via the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Gasoline is also produced in B.C.’s two refineries. Less than 10% the gasoline consumed in B.C. is imported via ship or barge from the U.S. Pacific Northwest.
  • B.C. is the fourth largest Canadian market for RPPs, after Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta. Total 2016 demand in B.C. for RPPs was 197 Mb/d, or 11% of total Canadian RPP demand. Of B.C.’s total demand, 87 Mb/d was for motor gasoline and an estimated 66 Mb/d was for diesel.

Natural Gas Consumption

  • B.C. consumed an average of 0.76 Bcf/d of natural gas in 2016, which represented 9% of total Canadian demand.
  • The largest consuming sector for natural gas was the industrial sector, which consumed 0.47 Bcf/d in 2016. The residential and commercial sectors consumed 0.14 Bcf/d and 0.11 Bcf/d, respectively.

Electricity Consumption

  • In 2015, annual electricity consumption per capita in B.C. was 11.2 megawatt hours (MW.h). B.C. ranked 9th in Canada for per capita electricity consumption and consumed 23% less than the national average.
  • B.C.’s largest consuming sector for electricity in 2015 was industrial at 23.8 TW.h. The residential and commercial sectors consumed 16.8 TW.h and 12.6 TW.h, respectively. B.C.’s electricity demand has decreased 13% since 2005.

GHG Emissions

  • B.C.’s GHG emissions in 2015 were 60.9 megatonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Emissions have increased 17% since 1990.Footnote 1
  • B.C.’s emissions per capita are one of the lowest in Canada, at 12.8 tonnes of CO2e – 36% below the national average of 20.1 tonnes per capita.
  • The largest emitting sectors in B.C. are transportation at 37% of emissions, oil and gas at 22%, and buildings (residential and commercial) at 12% (Figure 8).
  • B.C.’s GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector in 2015 were 13.7 MT CO2e. Of this total, 12.9 MT were attributable to production, processing, and transmission and 0.8 MT were attributable to petroleum refining and natural gas distribution.
  • About 98% of the electricity produced in B.C. comes from renewable sources. In 2015, B.C.’s power sector generated 0.4 MT CO2e emissions, which represents 0.5% of Canada’s total GHG emissions from power generation.

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