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Market Snapshot: Where does Canada store natural gas?

Release date: 2018-05-23

Natural gas is held in underground storage facilities in order to increase the reliability of natural gas supply throughout the year. Natural gas is injected into storage during the summer months when demand is lower and withdrawn during winter months when demand for space heating increases. Natural gas demand in Canada is approximately 12 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) during the winter, and decreases to approximately 7 Bcf/d during the summer.

Underground natural gas storage facilities in Canada are located in five provincesFootnote 1: Alberta, British Columbia (B.C.), Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan. The combined capacity of all underground storage facilities in Canada is 949 Bcf. The majority of this capacity (548 Bcf) is located in Alberta, followed by Ontario with 248 Bcf. While Alberta’s storage facilities are spread out across the province, Ontario’s storage capacity is located near Dawn, Ontario. B.C. has the largest facility, the FortisBC Aitken Creek facility in Fort St. John, with 95 Bcf. A natural gas storage facility is currently in the early phase of construction near Alton, Nova Scotia.

Source and Description

Source: North American Cooperation on Energy InformationFootnote 2, Natural Gas Underground Storage

Description: This map illustrates the locations of underground natural gas storage facilities in Canada. Depleted field facilities are located in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Salt cavern facilities are located primarily in Saskatchewan.

In 2016 and 2017, inventory levels peaked at approximately 750 Bcf, representing 80% of total storage capacity. This inventory level holds approximately 63 days’ worth of Canadian natural gas winter demand. However, other sources of natural gas provide supply such as ongoing production and imports. Canadian and United States (U.S.) natural gas markets are highly integrated. As a result, Canadian markets, particularly in Ontario and Quebec, also have access to gas from U.S. storage facilities. According to the NACEI, U.S. storage capacity is equal to 4 752 Bcf, 5 times the storage capacity in Canada.

Most underground storage facilities in Canada are depleted oil and gas fields that have been repurposed to store natural gas. Gas is also stored in underground salt caverns. Salt cavern storage accounts for only 2% of the underground storage capacity in Canada. See this complete map of storage facilities in Canada and U.S.

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