Updated May 2022
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Production: Marketable production of natural gas declined in 2021 to 276.7 million cubic metres per day (103 m3/d) or 9.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), a 4 per cent decline. Lower conventional (including tight) gas production was the main driver of the overall decline, as production from new natural gas wells took time to ramp up.
By 2031, marketable production is anticipated to slightly grow to 281.0 106 m3/d (10.0 Bcf/d). Rising output from the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) areas of Foothills Front and Northwestern Alberta will be mostly offset by declines in production levels across the rest of the province.
Number of wells: The number of new wells placed on production in 2021 increased by 34 per cent to 789. A significant growth in prices of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) and a quick demand recovery in 2021 resulted in a solid growth in capital spending and an increase in new wells placed on production.
The number of new wells per year is expected to increase over the forecast. By 2031, 1070 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 184.9 106 m3/d (6.6 Bcf/d) in 2021, or about 67 per cent of Alberta's marketable gas production. Demand was 8.5 per cent higher compared to 2020, the largest annual growth in Alberta gas demand since 2013.
Alberta's gas demand is forecasted to be about 80 per cent of the province's marketable gas production volumes in 2031. Demand levels are anticipated to increase by 20 per cent by 2031, with growth primarily expected from the oil sands and electricity generation sectors.