Updated June 2021
The production forecast model for ethane, propane, butanes, and pentanes plus includes all types of raw gas production from all seven Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) areas, gas produced from oil wells, and gas imports from British Columbia. The model then accounts for the liquids content traced back to the reservoir and how much liquid can be recovered (the liquid recovery factor) from representative fields, fractionation plants, and straddle plants.
Ethane Demand Forecast
The ethane demand forecast considers the ethylene production capacities in the Alberta petrochemical sector. At this time, no specification ethane is removed from the province; however, volumes of ethane unrecovered are removed from the province as part of the natural gas stream.
Propane Demand Forecast
The propane demand forecast factors in demand from the residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and transportation sectors. When Alberta’s production exceeds demand, the surplus is assumed to have been stored or removed from the province, including as a mix product such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG).
Butanes Demand Forecast
The demand forecast for butanes factors in butanes used as feedstock in the petrochemical sector to create value-added products (e.g., octane additives for gasoline and methanol). Butanes are also used as a diluent and are blended with heavy oil and bitumen to lower their viscosity for rail and pipeline transportation. Small volumes of butane are also used as a solvent for bitumen recovery. When Alberta’s production exceeds demand, the surplus is assumed to be stored or removed from the province, including as a mix product such as LPG.
Pentanes Plus Demand Forecast
The pentanes plus demand forecast is based on demand for pentanes plus as a diluent for heavy oil and bitumen to lower their viscosity for rail and pipeline transportation. Because demand exceeds Alberta supply, no pentanes plus are removed from the province unless as part of a blend.
Demand for diluents, such as butanes and pentanes plus, is based on the densities of bitumen and heavy oil and how much diluent is needed to reduce their viscosity for transportation by pipeline or rail to meet density specification.
All 2020 data are as reported by industry until the end of December and do not capture any subsequent amendments. The AER uses volumes of natural gas liquids submitted to Petrinex by field plant, fractionation plant, and straddle plant operator.