Parabolic Projection of Four Assessments of
Canadian Conventional Gas Resources

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John H. Walsh
Energy Advisor


The parabolic projection technique employed in previous papers was applied to four recent published assessments of Canadian conventional natural gas resources—those of the Canadian Gas Potential Committee, the Canadian Energy Research Institute, and the two scenarios formulated in the 2003 supply/demand study of the National Energy Board. This technique was modified by applying constraints at two assumed upper limits of conventional output of seven and eight Tcf per year to in effect establish a plateau peak that was extended in time by the quantity of gas whose production had been delayed.

On a common basis of comparison, the assessments of undiscovered remaining conventional natural gas in Canada covered a range from 207 for the Canadian Gas Potential Committee case to 422 Tcf used in a recent Canadian Energy Research Institute study, if the latter value is interpreted correctly in this paper. The two National Energy Board scenario cases were in between these assessments at 299 and 327 Tcf respectively. Applying a constraint on production leads to an extension of the plateau peak. For a peak production of 7 Tcf per year, the plateau peak is reached essentially now in all four cases, and the decline resumes in Case 1 in 2028, Case 2 in 2059, Case 3 in 2041, and Case 4 in 2045. The corresponding dates for reaching a plateau peak at 8 Tcf/year are 2010, 2006, 2007, and 2007 respectively. The decline resumes in 2018, 2048, 2031, and 2035 respectively.

It is unlikely that the rapid rise in supply of natural gas from Canadian conventional sources to the U.S. characteristic of the past decade can continue although it is possible the development of non-conventional sources of Coal Bed Methane might allow about another one Tcf/year to be exported. In conditions of low demand growth, the price of gas is unlikely to fall much below $4/1000 cubic feet on U.S. trading markets for any extended period of time given that the floor price is effectively set by the two next lowest cost sources of supply—non-conventional gas from Coal Bed Methane and imported Liquefied Natural Gas. In periods of high demand, the prices may be much higher. Two conceptually different classes of economic rent in the natural gas system were identified in the paper.

August 2003
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