Butane Methodology


Updated March 2018

2017 Estimates

All values for 2017 have been estimated using data reported by industry up until the end of August 2017. Full-year estimates for 2017 were derived using these data, adjusting for seasonality.

Forecasting Methodology

Natural gas liquids (NGLs) are a by-product of associated gas from oil well production, shale production, and raw conventional natural gas production in Alberta. The NGL production forecast model considers all types of gas production and all seven Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) areas. The model then accounts for the liquids content traced back to the reservoir pools and the liquids recovery factor from a representative field and from fractionation plants and straddle plants.

The production forecast includes butane supply from bitumen off-gas produced from upgraders and butane supply from gas produced from oil wells.

The butanes demand forecast factors in butanes used at refineries and butanes used as feedstock in the petrochemical sector to create value-added products such as an octane additive for gasoline and methanol.

When production is less than consumption, the difference is assumed to be met by imports. However, the AER checks the province’s import capacity and availability to ensure that the demand forecast is realistic. When Alberta’s production exceeds demand, the surplus is assumed to be stored or removed from the province.

The AER uses butanes production volumes submitted to Petrinex by field plant, fractionation plant, and straddle plant operators. Petrinex is a secure, centralized information network used to exchange petroleum-related information.