Market Snapshot: Maritimes natural gas production and exports decline in 2016

Release date: 2017-03-08

Three natural gas sources are used to meet Maritimes demand: McCully field onshore production in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia offshore production, and imports on the bi-directional Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline (M&NP) at St. Stephen, New Brunswick. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is imported at the Canaport terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick and is then exported to the U.S. Northeast.

Natural gas production from the Sable Island and Deep Panuke offshore platforms remained below historical levels in 2016, averaging 185 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d). By comparison, annual offshore production averaged 210 MMcf/d in 2015 and 350 MMcf/d in 2014. Estimated production from the McCully field in New Brunswick was unchanged in 2016, averaging 8 MMcf/d.Footnote 1

Map of Maritimes Natural Gas Supply and Transportation

Source and Description

Source: NEB

Description: This map illustrates natural gas trade in the Maritimes. Included are the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline (M&NP), offshore production pipelines from the Sable and Deep Panuke platforms, the McCully field, and the Emera Brunswick pipeline that transports natural gas from the Canaport LNG terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick. In 2016, imports on M&NP averaged 51 MMcf/d and exports averaged 50 MMcf/d. LNG imports into Canaport totalled 11.6 Bcf in 2016, an average of 32 MMcf/d. Maritimes offshore natural gas production averaged 185 MMcf/d in 2016, while onshore production averaged 8 MMcf/d.

At 11.6 billion cubic feet (Bcf),Footnote 2 LNG imports at the Canaport terminal were modest in 2016 compared to previous years. In 2016, only four LNG cargos were imported compared to eight in 2015 and seven in 2014. In general, Canaport is a peak demand serving facility with deliveries increasing during the winter months in response to cold temperatures. Prices were stable in the U.S. Northeast this winter as the completion of several pipeline projects allowed more production to enter the market, decreasing the reliance on LNG.

Net exports on M&NP reached an all-time low in 2016 and on an annual basis averaged almost zero. This compares to average net exports of 20 MMcf/d in 2015 and 160 MMcf/d in 2014.

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