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Conference Board predicts natural gas production to flicker

Published by Steve Coleman on September 20, 2011

The Conference Board of Canada predicts the country's natural gas production will drop over the next five years.

Even with exploration companies expected to drill more holes in Alberta, the new wells aren't expected to make up for the decline at existing wells.

Production in Alberta is expected to drop by as much as 20 per cent between 2010 and 2015,the group says.

While Alberta production is expected to fall, shale gas is expected to explode onto the scene in both British Columbia and a new offshore site in Nova Scotia. Other provinces are also expected to delve into shale cracking.

As a part of the North American energy scene, Canada has become more of a minor player, the Conference Board says. Five years ago, Canada produced one-quarter of the North American total. Today, it's less than 20 per cent.

Natural gas suppliers have had to adapt to a major change in the energy picture.

Pre-tax profits in the industry totalled $616 million last year-compared to more than $8 billion in 2005, the Conference Board says. Even though prices have stayed weak for three-straight years, profits are expected to increase to $744 million this year.

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