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Updated June 2023


Supply Forecast

The production forecast model for ethane, propane, butane, 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 (associated gas), and gas imports from British Columbia. The model 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 Alberta’s petrochemical sector. Currently, no specification ethane is removed from the province; however, volumes of unrecovered ethane are removed from the province as part of the natural gas stream. Alberta imports ethane to meet the shortfall between supply and demand.

Propane Demand Forecast

The propane demand forecast incorporates demand from the residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural, and transportation sectors. When Alberta’s production exceeds demand, surplus propane is assumed to have been stored or removed from the province, including as a mixed product, such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG).

Butane Demand Forecast

The butane demand forecast incorporates butane used as feedstock in the petrochemical sector to create value-added products (e.g., octane additives for gasoline and methanol). Butane is also used as a diluent for blending with heavy oil and bitumen to lower their viscosity for rail and pipeline transportation. Small volumes of butane are used as a solvent for bitumen recovery. When Alberta’s production exceeds demand, surplus butane is assumed to be stored or removed from the province, including as a mixed product, such as LPG.

Pentanes Plus Demand Forecast

The pentanes plus demand forecast incorporates demand for pentanes plus as a diluent to lower the viscosity of heavy oil or bitumen for rail and pipeline transportation.  Alberta's demand for pentanes plus exceeds its supply. Consequently, any pentanes plus removed from the province as diluted bitumen is partially recycled and mixed with U.S. pentanes plus production for import to Alberta via pipelines.

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 2022 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 operators.