Market Snapshot: Canada’s LNG imports dropped 88% since 2011

Release date: 2018-03-28

Canada’s only liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility – the Canaport LNG terminal in New Brunswick – was completed in 2009 to supply natural gas to eastern markets and the Maritimes. However, due to changing market conditions, the number of LNG cargoes imported to the Canaport terminal has decreased by 88% since its peak in 2011Footnote 1. At its peak, Canaport imported over 3 billion cubic metres (9 million cubic metres per day or 324 million cubic feet (MMcf) a day) of LNG in gas equivalent volumes, which is only a third of its send out capacity. In 2017, Canaport received just over 400 million cubic metres (an average of 1.1 million cubic metres or 39 MMcf a day). This is just 4% of the facility’s maximum send-out capacity of 28 million cubic metres (1 billion cubic feet) per day.

Maritime LNG Cargoes Imported from 2009 to 2017

Source and Description

Source: NEB; for further information, including revisions and updates, please see the LNG – Shipment Details Import Summary

Description: The graph shows the number of liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes imported into the Canaport terminal from 2009 to 2017, based on the typical cargo volume of 80 million cubic metres. 13 LNG cargoes were imported in 2009, 28 in 2010, 42 in 2011, 21 in 2012, 13 in 2013, 7 in 2014, 8 in 2015, 4 in 2016, and 5 in 2017.

North America’s natural gas market dynamics have changed. A decade ago, the combination of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies made shale gas accessible when it had been previously uneconomic to produce. This increased natural gas production across North America. With this, the need for LNG decreased and many LNG import facilities across the continent became under-utilized; some even decommissioned. Increased natural gas production in the United Sates (U.S.) Northeast, and improved pipeline access to the regionFootnote 2 have reduced the need for LNG imports at Canaport, even with declining Maritimes natural gas production.

Despite more access to natural gas from the U.S. via pipeline, Canaport’s LNG imports are still used in the Maritimes and U.S. Northeast to meet demand, particularly during winter.Footnote 3 Historically, most of Canada’s imported LNG has come from major producing countries in the Caribbean and Middle East. 55% of LNG imported by marine vessel comes from the Caribbean, followed by 41% from the Middle East, and small amounts from Europe, Africa, and South America.Footnote 4

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