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Updated June 2021

 

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Highlights

Production: Marketable production of natural gas remained steady in 2020, at 288 million cubic metres per day (106 m3/d) or 10.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). Although conventional gas production declined slightly for the year, increases in volumes from unconventional sources resulted in overall production levels in line with the previous year.

Over the forecast, marketable production is anticipated to post a small but positive gain of 2.4 106 m3/d (0.1 Bcf/d). Rising output from the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) areas of Foothills Front and Northwestern Alberta will be just enough to offset declines in production levels across the rest of the province by 2030.

Number of wells: The number of wells placed on production in 2020 declined by 20 per cent to 591. Although natural gas prices increased in 2020, lower crude oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) prices and the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic forced operators to scale back their capital spending programs, leading to a reduction in new wells placed on production.

The number of new wells per year is expected to increase over the forecast. By 2030, 1025 new gas wells are anticipated to be placed on production. Most will be horizontal multistage fractured (HMSF) wells targeting high-productivity, liquids-rich formations in the western regions of the province (Foothills Front and Northwestern Alberta).

Demand: Alberta demand for natural gas was estimated at 168.9 106 m3/d (6 Bcf/d) in 2020, or about 59 per cent of Alberta’s marketable gas production. Demand was 2 per cent lower than in 2019, the first decline in total gas demand in the province since 2001.  

By 2030, Alberta’s gas demand is forecasted to be about 77 per cent of the province’s marketable gas production volumes. Demand levels are anticipated to increase by about 32 per cent by 2030, with growth expected primarily from electricity generation and the oil sands sector.