Market Snapshot: British Columbia’s natural gas production 12% lower than expected for the fourth quarter of 2018

Release date: 2019-04-03

British Columbia’s (B.C.) annual marketable natural gas production increased by approximately 13% from 2017 to 2018; 4.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to 5.1 Bcf/d.Footnote 1 However, the National Energy Board (NEB) estimates that B.C.’s annual marketable natural gas production would have increased 16% in 2018 if a section on Enbridge’s T-South natural gas transmission pipeline (BC Pipeline or Westcoast system) had not ruptured in October 2018.

Prior to the rupture, October 2018 production was expected to be 5.2 Bcf/d, based on NEB production estimates available at the time. However, B.C. natural gas production in October 2018 fell to 4.7 Bcf/d after the rupture caused some production to be shut in.

Actual and Estimated B.C. Marketable Natural Gas Production: 2017 – 2019

Source and Description

Source: NEB

Description: This chart shows monthly B.C. marketable natural gas production from January 2017 to December 2019. Historical production is from January 2017 to October 2018. Projected production, with and without the pipeline rupture, is shown from October 2018 to December 2018. In January 2017, B.C. production was 4.8 Bcf/d, and peaked at 5.3 Bcf/d in April 2018. In October 2018 production was 4.7 Bcf/d, and it is estimated that it would have been 5.2 Bcf/d without the rupture. By December 2018, it is estimated that production will be 5.0 Bcf/d and would have been 5.4 Bcf/d without the rupture. The estimate shows production could reach 5.4 Bcf/d in June 2019.

Current production estimates anticipate that production will continue to recover, and could return to non-rupture levels by the fall of 2019. However, this is dependent on the company demonstrating to the NEB that it is safe for the BC Pipeline to return to its licensed “Maximum Operating Pressure”.

All of B.C.’s natural gas production is north of where the pipeline ruptured near Prince George. BC Pipeline ships gas from northeast B.C. south to Huntingdon, where it then flows to the Vancouver area or is exported to the United States. Throughputs to Huntingdon decreased, and Northeast B.C. gas production was voluntarily curtailed since not all of the gas that would have flowed south to Huntingdon could have been sent eastward into Alberta via the NGTL and Alliance pipeline systems. Following completion of the repairs to the ruptured pipeline section in November 2018, flows have increased. However, the majority of the BC Pipeline remains under a pressure restriction, and flows into Huntingdon/Sumas in January and February averaged around 1.4 Bcf/d out of a normal 1.6 Bcf/d for that time of year.

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