ARCHIVED – 2012 Natural Gas Exports and Imports Summary

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Volumes, Average Price and Value of Exports and Imports
  2012 2011 2010 2009 2008
Volumes (Billion m³)
Exports 86.7 90.4 91.9 92.3 103.3
Imports 31.2 31.5 22.8 20.9 15.9
Net Exports 55.5 58.9 69.1 71.4 87.3
Volumes (Bcf/d)
Exports 8.4 8.7 8.9 8.9 10.0
Imports 3.0 3.1 2.2 2.0 1.5
Net Exports 5.4 5.7 6.7 6.9 8.5
Average Price (Cdn$/GJ)
Exports 2.63 3.81 4.29 4.42 8.41
Imports 2.89 4.03 4.57 4.77 8.59
Value (Cdn$ billions)
Exports 8.7 13.1 15.1 15.5 33.1
Imports 3.4 4.8 3.9 3.8 5.2
Net Revenue 5.3 8.3 11.1 11.8 27.9


Figure 1: Canadian Natural Gas Gross Export Volumes, 2003-2012

Figure 1: Canadian Natural Gas Gross Export Volumes, 2003-2012
  • In 2012, Canada exported 86.7 billion m³ (8.39 Bcf/d) of natural gas. This is 3.7 billion m³ (0.36 Bcf/d) or 4 per cent less than in 2011. Exports of natural gas in 2012 were the lowest in over a decade and 19 per cent lower than in 2007.  

Figure 2: Canadian Natural Gas Import Volumes, 2003-2012

Figure 2: Canadian Natural Gas Import Volumes, 2003-2012
  • Natural gas imports rose by an average of approximately 24 per cent per year from 2007 to 2011. In 2012, Canada imported 29.5 billion (2.85 Bcf/d) of pipeline gas and 1.7 billion m³ (0.16 Bcf/d) of LNG. Higher imports occurred primarily into the Ontario market, where imports of Marcellus gas increasingly displaced deliveries from Alberta. Overall, 2012 natural gas imports declined by 1 per cent (0.3 billion m³ or 0.03 Bcf/d) from 2011.
  • In 2012, pipeline imports comprised 95 per cent (29.5 billion m³ or 2.85 Bcf/d) of total natural gas imports, and pipeline imports increased by 5 per cent (1.34 billion m³ or 0.13 Bcf/d) from 2011.
  • Imports of LNG comprised 5 per cent (1.7 billion m³ or 0.16 Bcf/d) of total natural gas imports and of that, 56 per cent of LNG was imported from Qatar and 44 per cent was imported from Trinidad and Tobago. LNG import volumes decreased by almost 50 per cent (1.7 billion m³ or 0.16 Bcf/d) from 2011.

Figure 3: Canadian Natural Gas Net Export Volumes, 2003-2012

Figure 3: Canadian Natural Gas Net Export Volumes, 2003-2012
  • 2012 net exports of natural gas decreased to 55.5 billion m³ (5.37 Bcf/d), the lowest level in 10 years. This is 41 per cent (38.8 billion m³ or 3.75 Bcf/d) lower than 2007 net export volumes.

Figure 4: Export Volumes by Region

Figure 4: Gross Export Volumes by Region
  • Amid the overall decrease in Canadian natural gas exports in 2012, the U.S. Midwest continued to receive the largest share of Canadian exports, representing 57 per cent (49.3 billion m³ or 4.77 Bcf/d) of total natural gas exports. 2012 exports to the U.S. Midwest decreased by approximately 6 per cent (2.9 billion m³ or 0.28 Bcf/d) from 2011.
  • The U.S. West received 30 per cent (25.8 billion m³ or 2.49 Bcf/d) of total Canadian natural gas exports. 2012 exports to the U.S. West increased by approximately 6 per cent (1.6 billion m³ or 0.15 Bcf/d) from 2011.
  • The U.S. East received 13 per cent (11.7 billion m³ or 1.13 Bcf/d) of total Canadian natural gas exports. 2012 exports to the U.S. East decreased by approximately 17 per cent (2.4 billion m³ or 0.23 Bcf/d) from 2011.
  • Overall, Canadian natural gas exports remained relatively steady in 2012 to markets in the U.S. West and U.S. Midwest. 2012 exports to U.S. East continued to decrease due to increasing Marcellus production, which displaced the need for Canadian natural gas.

Prices and Revenue

Figure 5: Canadian Natural Gas Export Revenue, Import Value and Prices, 2002 to 2011

Figure 5: Canadian Natural Gas Export Revenue, Import Value and Prices, 2000 to 2010
  • In 2012, the average Canadian export price decreased to $2.63/GJ, a 31 per cent decrease compared to the 2011 average of $3.81/GJ. Natural gas exports for 2012 were valued at $8.69 billion, a 34 per cent decrease from the 2011 export value of $13.14 billion.
  • The average 2012 import price was $2.89/GJ, a decrease of 28 per cent compared to the 2011 average import price of $4.03/GJ. Natural gas imports for 2012 were valued at $3.42 billion, a 29 per cent decrease from the 2011 import value of $4.81 billion.

Commentary and Outlook

The 2012 Canadian natural gas market was characterized by a continued decrease of natural gas exports and increased natural gas pipeline imports, resulting in overall lower net exports.

  • Canadian natural gas production has declined over the past few years, with 2012 production falling to an average of 393.8 million m³/d (13.9 Bcf/d) gas drilling was largely uneconomical (with the exception of a handful of plays). Production outside the WCSB is expected to see growth by the second half of 2013 as Encana's Deep Panuke offshore facilities are expected to begin production.
  • Unconventional gas production, particularly from tight and shale resources, contributed to increased  U.S. production despite the decreased number rigs targeting natural gas, which has fallen by more than 50 per cent over 2012. In the near term, U.S. gas production will continue to grow as companies target high-productivity, wet-gas prospects as well as shale-oil prospects that co-produce significant amounts of natural gas.
  • In April 2012, natural gas prices at Henry Hub decreased to $1.83/GJ, the lowest level since the winter of 1999. Prices in Alberta also reached their lowest level in April 2012, totaling $1.59/GJ.
  • Starting in November 2012, the Niagara export point was reversed. Consumers in Ontario began importing an average of 10.2 million m³/day (360 MMcf/d) of natural gas from the U.S. In contrast, in the early 2000s, almost 22.7 million m³/day (800 MMcf/d) of natural gas was being exported to the U.S. at Niagara.
  • Combined U.S. and Canadian LNG imports averaged 16.8 million m³/day (600MMcf/d) in 2012.
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