Canadian Gas - Decline Sets in.

The decline sets in.

Canada provides a quarter of all the gas produced in Canada and the U.S..  Ninetyeight per cent of Canadian production comes from the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB), and almost all the rest from Atlantic Canada.

Since the year 2000, total Canadian production has been maintained at about 480 million cubic metres per day.  This has been achieved only by a very considerable increase in the number of wells drilled each year.  For details, see a posting I wrote in January.  It is evident that such increases cannot be continued indefinitely.  Under these circumstances, when drilling levels off, output begins to fall, and an actual decrease in drilling leads to even faster decline.  When gas prices were in the region of $15 per gigajoule in late 2005, there was considerable enthusiasm for drilling, but in the last year the price has wandered erratically in the range of $5 to $9 per gigajoule, and costs have been high. At $7 per gigajoule, drilling has been falling, and companies are laying workers off.

Canada's National Energy Board has just issued one of its updates on future gas production, Short-term Canadian Natural Gas Deliverability 2007-2009.  In it, the effects of the drilling decline are assessed, and three scenarios for the future are presented, focussing on the likely level of investment in WCSB drilling.

Drilling investment

This figure shows very well the huge increase in efffort required in 2000-2006 to keep production flat - the annual cost more than doubled over those six years.  The substantial decline in expenditure that is now occurring (to levels still much higher than in 2000), must result in a significant fall in production.  What is more, this makes it almost impossible ever again to raise production to where it was in 2000-2006.  The three scenarios shown in the investment figure are reflected in corresponding predictions of future production for all of Canada.

Canadian production

All three scenarios show declines that are obvious even on this graph, which has its y axis origin at zero, and has only a three-year period of decline.  Note that even the "high effort" case, involving a new record expenditure in 2009, shows a fall in production every year.

A breakdown of production is shown for the reference case:

breakdown of production

The decline that is expected is very significant - about 5% per year.  It can be seen that coal-bed methane production is expected to produce a very useful quantity of gas, but nowhere near enough to stem the decline.  Contrast this with the two scenarios (called "Supply Push" and Techno-Vert") envisaged in a 2003 report, "Canada's Energy Future, Scenarios for Supply and Demand to 2025".  Bear in mind that these scenarios were supposed to be achieved with gas prices remaining under $4 per gigajoule for the entire period.

supply push

A decline in WCSB conventional gas was anticipated, but coal bed methane and Arctic and offshore gas were expected to make up for the fall in production.  In fact, the WCSB decline now seems likely to be faster than envisaged in either of these scenarios, and relief in the form of new supply is nowhere in sight.

Even with the gas price at $7 per gigajoule, production costs are high enough to discourage drilling for new supplies.  If this 5% per annum decline continues, output will be down to 60% of its current value in 10 years' time, and Canada will have little gas for export, even without a major increase in consumption for oil sand bitumen extraction and upgrading.  Each new outlook results in a view of the future with lower gas production, and this consistent downward trend leads to still more disturbing conclusions.

Thanks for posting this Libelle, we needed that updated info.

Both the US and Mexico have been also in plateu since 2000, when will they go into decline?

As far as I know, the US and Mexico have been in decline since about 2000, as shown in Jean's diagram (after subtracting out the flat Canadian production). The question about the US is when its unconventional gas will go into decline. When that happens, overall production will fall quickly.

Will this decline result in the Harper Government putting the McKenzie delta project back on the table?

And will it affect the tar sands production?

Tar Sands will be stopped next year. Even though predictions make fools of us all.

Alberta cannot provide NatGas to the Tar Sands, and the water is giving out as well (fish downstream smell/taste like gasoline), and provide to the US/Mexico and keep Winnipeg East to Quebec in Nat Gas.

Something/Someone has to give.

And Alberta wants Royalties raised as well.

BTW, we're at Peak Coal as well as Peak Gas.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

NO WAY will tar sands be stopped next year. Im comfortable making that prediction (barring force majeur like we get overtaken by aliens or virus wipes out 50%)

Liquid fuels on PLANETARY basis, more important than NG - even if NG doubles triples in price they will at least keep the surface mining stuff going. Tar sands are going to continue, at environmental cost not factored into the market, for many years to come...

It gets VERY cold in Canada (and the northern US) in the winter.

ATM, we *like* our NG to heat our houses. (read as: we foolishly chose to make NG the only fuel for millions of homes - no option for wood backup due to bylaws)

While I don't agree the Tar Sands will stopped next year, I don't believe they will grow significantly in the next few years and costs will skyrocket...and production may slow or hiccup around then. Water is just as much a problem.

What happens to the tar sands over the next year or two will tell a lot.

The fact that a lot of the deep offshore development is moving very slowly if at all as shown that even with current prices their seems to be a cost that above what oil companies are willing to spend.

I think at the end of the day the key problem is you have to pay millions and even billions upfront for a very long term payout. I suspect the tar sands esp given enviromental/NG/Water/Cost issues are either barely profitable or losing money now.

One scenario that will get people out of the tar sand quick is if a company drops out or slows production and get hit with a environmental cleanup bill. The large ponds of waste are a ticking time bomb.

I suspect the plan is to let the companies doing the extraction go bankrupt instead of paying for cleanup.

So my prediction is environmental concerns will shut down the tar sands probably after a major accident and soon.

The fact that a lot of the deep offshore development is moving very slowly if at all has shown that even with current prices there seems to be a cost that above what oil companies are willing to spend.

In their 3rd quarter earnings conference call this morning, Schlumberger said that the problem is a lack of rigs. They expected that shortage to continue constraining production for the foreseeable future.

They said there is plenty of equipment, etc. for pressure pumping of natural gas--but producers were abandoning production because current prices don't justify the increasing costs. The rapid decline rates should lead to increased prices and extraction in the future, but Schlumberger said they didn't see a bottom yet.

So I expect we'll see a lot of pressure for continuing tar sands production for the intermediate term.

The cost will shut it down.


and then Higher Royalties figured in. And Canadians to the East wondering why they have an energy problem while NatGas is
poured into making US cars run and US/Mexican factories

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

We can cut oil demand far more easily than we can cut gas demand; leaving the Hummer at home (or taxing the jerks who think they're entitled to guzzle hard enough to make them reconsider), driving slower and other measures are far easier than shutting down industry so that homes can be heated.

We have to start viewing the Escalades, Durangoes, Excursions and people towing their 5th wheel travel and horse trailers everywhere as anti-patriots.  Some sectors of the economy will suffer; tourism, horse shows and the like are the non-essential parts, and we shouldn't let them forget it.

We are also going to see:

- nuclear plants built to extract the tar sands.

- Extreme insulation of houses.

- Installation of geo-heat pumps to get heat from electricity.

We can shift from natural gas for home heating. Once natural gas become expensive enough electricity with heat pumps will become relatively cheaper.

So the anticipated decline sets in. But is it by underinvestment (low prices) or geological? It would be interesting what effect this may have on synthetic oil production from the much touted Tar sands.

But is it by underinvestment (low prices) or geological?

Thats the $64,000 (per megajoule) question. If prices head back up how much production comes back online??

OilmanBob and I just discussed the following related to the Barnett and Fayetteville Shale Gas Plays in AR/TX.

Looks like EnCana thinks there's one in B.C.-

"You just know that when they pay that kind of money, they've got something," he said. "That's good for us. Our geologists tell us that the potential resource from shale gas is 250 trillion cubic feet, and that's just in B.C. Even if we recover just a portion of that, it's huge."

The two areas of interest are the Horn River Basin, which Mr. Neufeld says is the largest shale gas play in Canada, and the Cordova Embayment. In 2007 alone, companies have spent $40-million on leases in Cordova and $240-million over two years on leases in Horn River.

Gas trapped in shale is not a new resource, it has been overlooked in Canada in the past because it is difficult to produce compared with gas from other types of reservoirs. But significant volumes of natural gas are produced from gas shales in the United States.

"It's huge because it's shale," said Vic Levson, assistant executive director in the resource development and geoscience branch, Ministry of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources. "It's a completely new target.

"Five years ago people would have laughed you off the street if you said there'd be a huge land sale in shale."

This quote right here stands out:

"You just know that when they pay that kind of money, they've got something," he said. "That's good for us. Our geologists tell us that the potential resource from shale gas is 250 trillion cubic feet, and that's just in B.C. Even if we recover just a portion of that, it's huge."

The same was said in Arkansas. Reality has set in here.

Very limited potential in a small area of the Total Potential. And if gas doesn't go to $10, progress on that
will be measured.

Arkansaw of Samuel L Clemens

powder river basin (wyoming) coal gas prices:

jan '07 : $us 2.78 to 3.83/mmbtu
feb '07 : 4.83 to 5.66
mar '07 : 4.74 to 5.23
apr '07 : 2.18 to 3.08
may '07 : 3.65 to 3.82
jun '07 : 2.62 to 2.79
jul '07 : 1.99 to 2.85

I've a friend who got 3 coalbed methane wells dug i the Powder River Basin, and he had to sell his gas for $2/MCF just to keep his farm-in. He sold his wells, and has got a real job now.
Bob Ebersole


Care to add anything more on the Powder and Tongue coalbed methane fields?

Development of these fields has cost both Montana and Wyoming. The dirty, saline waters trapped in the beds must be vented from these fields. There are major water quality issues, and they have lowered water tables throughout the region. Montana's governor filed suit this year, claiming Wyoming was stealing their water. IMO, it highlights a smaller version of the problems tar sands will produce, Here, the water problems don't have near the contamination of Alberta, but look at the mess.

doug fir, i dont have any firsthand knowledge of the water quality in the coal seams but i have heard that it is suitable for livestock( and pronghorn antelope). but if the water being discharged is of a low quality, then the water table on the low quality water is being lowered. so which way is it, is it bad water being discharged or is it good water being depleted ?

oilmanbob, I dont have a real job either but the royalties from coalbed methane are sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet.

I do not have any firsthand knowledge either, relatives have spoken concern.

I do know the area is under a 10 year plus drought, so water is scarce irregardless. It creates alot of wiggle room for denial or "not responsible." The quality issue stems from untreated discharge, which is killing native vegetation along stream channels, creating saline creep, and killing fields among ranchers who have historically used these streams or rivers for irrigation. Existing surface water is usually of high quality, dumping all the overflow into it degrades it exponentially. The old saw-dilution is the solution to pollution-comes back to mind reversed.

There are several solutions, but only some operators are biting the bullet. I guess due to cost. First among these would would be re-injection or reverse osmosis. Unlined evaporation ponds are proving a boondoggle, from overflows and disposal of residue.

The companies and ranchers have been fighting in court for years. Enough said on that-allegations back and forth and only money is spent, little solution.

As to suitability for livestock and antelope, you can drink water, as I know from personal experience, that surface applied regularly kills. The evaporated salts are left on the surface and evaporation rates in the area are very high. Though I am not familiar with the Powder-Tongue area, I know in other areas water wells may be 500 ft deep, grabbing what we termed "geologic water" Compared to closer water or sweet springs, it's foul stuff. Add a softener, do what you have to.

I got on this board from a deep concern and worry about energy supplies. I like other views. I hate to throw out or belittle solutions. But we have to pay the cost, not find more externalities.

Generally it does not matter. The US for example went on a drilling campaign when it peaked in oil. You need continuous growth to keep even. Once you pull back you need say twice the previous growth rate to catch up.

This problem which is caused by increasing costs and manpower shortage. When your in a situation that requires exponential growth and you hold steady or slowdown your basically behind forever and will never catch up thus you have peaked. Its actually very impressive what the oil and gas industry has accomplished to date.

This above ground factor is probably the reason that oil production peaked earlier predicted and I suspect we will find that the same processes will lead to a earlier peak for North American NG and a steeper decline rate over whats been predicted.

So probably we will be hit with high gasoline prices summer 2008 and sporadic shortages followed by NG issues that winter. Considering the decline rates for NG I can't see how we won't have problems winter 2009.

It's not a question of bringing production back on line. Wells are not (in general) going off line until finished. It's a failure to drill more and more wells each year. Catching up again is not going to happen. The flat production over the last six years or so was achieved only by enormous and ever-increasing effort. Just continuing with enormous (and not increasing) effort will result in decline. Actually slacking off will result in faster decline.

The price is not low by historical standards. The problem is that the size of individual deposits of new gas keeps falling, so more and more holes had to be drilled each year to offset the decline in existing production. This cost more and more each year, and eventually (inevitably) it was just too expensive to keep up.

No conceivable effort will get production up again to where it was. As for bitumen extraction and upgrading, the interesting question will be how quickly things can be changed so that asphaltene fractions or coke are used for heat and to supply hydrogen.


Its a combination of both lower prices and geological problems.

When the huge natural gas field under Ft. Worth and Dallas was figured out by George Mitchell and his company he had been trying to produce this gas for 30 years. He knew it was there because he always got a gas kick drilling through the Barnett Shale in Wise County, but no operator been to produce the gas at a profit. He worked out how to lower the cost of fracturing the wells, and purchased leases on a huge amount of acreage in the best part of the field for a reasonable figure. He then sold his company to Devon Energy for a lot of money and more or less retired-he's about 90 years old and has been very sucessful as a wildcatter since the 1940's.

As Devon's wells became profitable, dozens of other companies purchased leases in the Newark East field, and a trend play began on acreage that stretched from El Paso to upstate New York on similar plays.

Then, hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit, and the price for natural gas went from $7.00 or $8.00 per thousand cubic feet, or MCF to as high as $15 MCF. At the same time, the US economy was booming, and Hedge Funds eagerly committed themselves to big and expensive drilling programs, which assumed that natural gas prices would remain above $10/MCF and that drilling and completion prices would escalate by perhaps 50%, but still remain reasonable. They also assumed that there would be a good market for the gas, as the United States was past its peak in production.

At the same time many companies began to permit and build Liquified Natural Gas plants overseas and also in the United States. There are hundreds of trillions cubic meters of "stranded" natural gas deposits in the world, much of it produced along with oil in fields all over the world. Jerome a' Paris covered their location in his post on building natural gas pipelines in TOD-Europe archives about a month ago. In many countries, such as Nigeria, this gas is just wasted, or flared as there is no market. So companies who can sell it in the United States are getting money for something that would otherwise just be flared (burned). There have been around 20 LNG plants completed so far in the US, and more of them in the process of permitting or construction.

The result has been that all the gas storage facilities are full, and gas prices have hovered around $6/MCF and $8/MCF for the last two years, and most of the wells that were budgeted with an anticipated gas price of at least $10/MCF are not making a good profit. Another problem that has weighed down on investment in gas wells is that so many hedge funds are having a very hard time and they are experiencing a hard time getting financing, so the operators and and funds are selling futures contracts, which are depressing the price of natural gas.

The prices of drilling and completing natural gas wells in the field has gone up relentlessly, and now is double what was originally budgeted for by the operators. There are not enough pipelines, and the ones in place are full. A large high pressure gas line is not the kind of neighbor anyone wants, and it costs very substantial sums of money to purchase or condemn rights of way for the pipelines across the cities to the sales line. World Oil had an article a few months back and only 40% of the verticle wells in the Newark East Field and about 10% of the horizontal wells are actually projected to make a profit.

This is an example of how wrong things can go in a boom. Alberta wants to raise its royalty rates on the wells in the biumen sands because the net profits basis on which the old contracts were based don't look like theyare going to materialize. Petrobank Energy's THAI process seems to be very successful so far, but it cuts the water consumption to produce the wells to nothing, and the natural gas requirements to zero. If there is a carbon tax imposed on the strip mines by the Canadian Government or its trading partners, they will be very unlikely to be profitable, and so all production will cease that uses this method, yet there will be an incredible clean-up bill for the problems caused so far.
The other method which companies are using for production is steam-assisted gravity drainage, which will be superceded by THAI. So, the market for the water and much of the natural gas looks not so hot.
The big oil companies have been very involved with the syncrude/bitumen processes because they allow them to continue to use their old equipment and refineries to produce gasoline and petrochemicals. If that changes radicially then their whole business will morph to something that they don't understand. If peak oil and climate change cause a radical change in how the world operates, then many of their old assets will be only liabilities. That's why they have resisted any discussion of the future, fear and uncertainty.

The other reason is geological. Although there is no exploration risk, prices of production are very high and, I understand cost approximately $100K per barrel per day of level production just for the equipment, but not including any production costs, or the office overhead.. This compares with the going market price of $50K per barrel per day of production buying stripper wells in Texas. Because the tar sands are so isolated and the pipelines are full, the price of bitumen received by the producer is at a substantial discount to the price of crude oil received anywhere in Texas. And, I've heard the producers are dumping water in containment ponds, polluted with heavy metals, sulfur and already covers about 40 square miles at Ft. McMurray. This practice was made illegal in the mid 1960's in Texas, and will probably be an ongoing financial and litigation liability for the operators and their successor companies.
Bob Ebersole

Thanks for a very informative post.

Peak production on new wells in the WCSB occurs within one year to 18 months. After that, there is a very steep decline.

The number of new wells needed each year to maintain a plateau has increased exponentially. The NEB knew this. What the NEB may not have been able to anticipate was the effect the tar sands would have on gas development.

The soaring costs associated with the tar sands, along with the huge demands on human resources and equipment means there simply are not enough workers and equipment available for gas drilling at a price which can produce a profit.

So, in the true style of "turning gold into lead," of two energy sources competing for the same resources, the tar sands are the clear winner. The irony is, not only do the tar sands effectively reduce the amount of gas coming out of the ground, they burn a significant portion of the gas that does get produced.

Has the camels back broken yet?

I feel like the straws are just about enough.

Lets see what one more does.

I think you'll find that peak production occurs very soon after startup, and that the initial (very fast) decline period lasts about 18 months. See:
page 8, section

Production decline analysis suggests that the average gas well connection in each area tends to exhibit
a steep decline during initial production, which usually lasts for about 17 months, followed by a
period characterized by a significantly lower decline rate.

I don't recall hearing that anything was said about the tarsands and its troubles in the recent Throne Speech.

A critical omission.

The government of resources falls under provincial jurisdiction in Canada, not federal.

James Gervais

Thanks for posting about Canadian natural gas production. I'm sorry it appears so gloomy.

Dave Cohen wrote an excellent key post on The Oil Drum about a year ago, titled "Running ithe the Red Queen" about the North American natural gas situation but mainly focused on the US and with a good summary of the unconventional gas in the US basins, and including some analysis of the shale gas in the Barnett shale and the other deep and tight plays in the US. His conclusion was that the unconventional gas would not be economic without sustained high prices.
My personal analysis is that we need to open up the Gulf of Mexico east of Mobile, and the Pacific Coast deep water areas and the federal waters on the Atlantic coasts before we make that judgement. But because of the human caused climate change through our reckless dumping of CO2 and before it ozone destroying florocarbons, we need to tie CO2 containment to bills before we allow the big energy companies access to more federally owned lands for development.
The other real problem is that our energy imports have become a real national security issue. We still produce most of the natural gas used in North America, but our imports of 68% of our transportation fuel needs leaves the US much too vulnerable to an embargo targeting the USA and also to the Export Land scenario of westexas and Khebab's. As Boone Pickens points out,compressed naural gas can be used directly in automobiles with a few modifications and we already have pipelines to every state except Hawaii. It seems a true shame to waste a compairativly clean burning fuel so we can produce a huge pollution mess in northern Alberta and compound the CO2 problem worldwide. But we're just about out of time and the last 26 years of the Congressional and Executive leadership in the US have nearly destroyed the economy for the benefit of the 1% of the population that owns 2/3rds of the assets in our country.

Bob Ebersole

    As Boone Pickens points out,compressed naural gas can be used directly in automobiles with a few modifications

My take is that there are vast negawatts to be recovered here. But is it going to take price to make us decide? 1/3 of my family GHGs are our car - which we can do without but the 1/3 for heating the home? the other 1/3 for electricity and water heating?

We have to power down - it's non negotiable. The sooner we start the better - the real sacrifices will take time - packing more people into smaller living spaces; stop wasting prescious resources raising beef and other meats using lots of fossil fuel inputs.

Will a carbon tax work?
The rich will always have an out - convert their cars to NG or LPG or biodiesel or ethanol. We need a government with a backbone that doesn't let every possible option get used to keep on keeping on - destroy our farmland and planet to the point where the carrying capacity of our planet is so reduced overshoot will be stark reality.

It's at least in the Buddist religon. In order to make the right decision we must stop and and be at rest. We must realize that we are on a treadmill screaming towards overshoot die off.

We must do this before we destroy every last safety net and hidden egg on this planet.

But then the tarsands have an EROEI >1 so it will keep on "producting".

It's so easy to stop consuming food - it's easy to go weeks without eating. But can we stop consuming products, oil and gas for a few weeks and vision where we want our society to be? I don't think so. Many people worship consumption; many people enable consumption and we would have to undo decades of movement to a service economy in order to move forward towards sustainability.

My kids are only four. By the time I'll be able to explain any of this to them they'll be so screwed!

What you want is a car that runs on electricity.  It doesn't matter what makes the electricity, it's all the same to the car.  You can use solar thermal, solar PV, wind, nuclear or a Stirling cogenerator running off the heat from your wood stove and run your car off it.

Your kids will only be screwed if the rest of us let the Bushes and their friends lock us into liquid fuels to guarantee a market for every last drop of oil.


Bush and company do not have the power to lock us into liquid fuels. The battery makers and car makers have a very strong vested interest in solving the battery problem. The electric generation and electric utility companies share that interest. I do not see how the oil industry can prevent the migration to electricity for more purposes.

Bush and company do not have the power to lock us into liquid fuels.

Yes, they do.  They have the ability to starve the research programs you keep touting, and they also (through executive control of agencies like the EPA) have the ability to stall emissions certification of PHEVs and effectively ban them.

The battery makers and car makers have a very strong vested interest in solving the battery problem.

The oil industry has a very strong vested interest in not solving the problem, and has already kept large-format NiMH cells off the US market though its ownership of patent rights through Cobasys, sinking the Toyota RAV-4 EV.  The oil industry has huge revenues and could buy the US auto industry with a couple years of profits.

I do not see how the oil industry can prevent the migration to electricity for more purposes.

It has plenty of money to buy friends in government, and those friends do it favors and keep heat off it.  There has been no anti-trust investigation of Cobasys, and the problem will continue until e.g. power-tool batteries can be pressed into vehicular service and the dam breaks.

If you look at the pattern of behavior between Washington and California, you'll see Washington blocking while California makes demands almost designed to fail (e.g. the ZEV mandate, which completely ignored PHEVs).  Is this chronic incompetence on the left coast, or is it part of political theatre to stymie progress while making it appear that something is being done?  The finances of the directors of CARB and those officials who appoint and approve them might make for some interesting reading, to see who has been buying influence with them.


The big name venture capitalists behind A123Systems aren't going to be stopped by Exxon-Mobil. Also, the Japanese battery makers aren't going to be stopped by Exxon-Mobil either.

California's ZEV: That's incompetence by impractical leftist politicians who are innumerate and unscientific.

The EPA isn't going to keep pluggable hybrids off the market. The auto industry could make a huge media scene if they tried. The public wouldn't stand for it.

I don't think you get it.  I'm not arging that the oil companies can keep EVs off the market forever; I'm arguing that they have successfully done so for years and, because we were caught unprepared, they have guaranteed near-total dependence upon oil (and their profits) well into the post-peak period.  (You should also note that we had much of the necessary research done, but lack of appropriate policy meant that this never got put into products and thus did not bootstrap market-driven advances.)

The profits from this continued dependence may come to a trillion dollars.

Here is a post by Nate with Red Queen in the title. Still looking for the one by Dave.

Good presentation. It seems that it is easier to keep the information flowing than to keep the energy flowing.

Will gas depletion be an even bigger problem for the USA than oil depletion? In my mind, this article just reinforces how unlikely that any alternative to oil will prevent a collapse of industrial civilization over the next several decades.

I keep coming back to the idea of where the energy will come from to fuel new infrastructure for the illusory "sustainable" future. It seems to boil down to having no adequate alternative to keep the game going, and having no excess energy to use to create even the inadequate alternatives. I strongly suspect that the only alternative that will work is rapid population reduction, to restore balance between man and the ability of the earth to sustain us. See, nature has already invented a solution for us.

Here is a good source for Canadian Natural Gas information:

The latest report on the site, for September, does show less drilling year over year for every month this year since January, and it also shows production falling. The gas storage level is still high. As factors affecting gas storage, warmer weather has been overwhelming the slight drop in North American production that has occurred over the last five years.

As we approach heating season, U.S. natural gas stocks are comfortably high also, at 3375 Bcf. However, they have now fallen slightly below last years level by 59 Bcf, according to the EIA:

Hello TODers,

The decline of Western Canadian gas brings up a set of regional logical choices: home heating/cooking, industrial potash mining, beneficiation, and continued export from Saskatchewan, or using the gas for tarsands [gold to lead].

I think the first two choices make more sense for Western Canada. Potash industry is the process of turning 'rock into food', which is more valuable than even gold.

Western Canada can long-term power their vehicles with natgas for a higher ERoEI and less environmental effects than burning this natgas for low ERoEI tarsand oil and much more total environmental degradation.

As the infrastructure spiderwebs will inevitably shrink: the pipelines running South into the US will eventually become uneconomic by the 4th GW that will be the final blow.

I would recommend that Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia consider joining the Secession States that will form Cascadia: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, etc. It seems like a sound strategy to me so that they can hoard the remaining supplies to foster a faster transition to a very large biosolar habitat.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Interesting you mention this.

I've actually doodled out sustainable regions for North America. Your Cascadia is one region. The Ohio/Missisipi valley region excluding Chicago is another.

The big problem areas are the North Eastern seaboard say north of South Carolina. Atlanta/Florida. And pretty much all the south west from New Mexico to the Pacific.

So this gives the NorthWest 2 or 3 regions along the Missisippi and parts of the south Atlantic and great lakes regions.

In terms of cities.

Miami,Atlanta, Washintion DC, New York, Boston, Chicago, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, and Dallas. Seem to be high on the unsustainable list. Effectively you can do ELP for each region and you end up pretty much with this list. New York, Chicago, Los Angles stand out as danger areas. Chicago is high not only because its large but it has cold winters and would suffer through inability to heat in the winter.

It would be interesting to explore these concepts.

and you have not even begun to do the demographics on psychology. google daly/wilson homicide research - its pretty amazing

Hello Memmel,

Thxs for responding. Unfortunately, I have travelled very little, so my geo-imagination is constrained to map-reading and google-images. I really have no true mental concepts of the accurate geo-scale, geo-variation, and biodiversity of this NA continent--but I try my best. I appreciate any elaboration by you and other TODers that have traversed more landscape than me.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

You'll probably find some good food for thought in your explorations at Garreau also has a web site:

Wild almost exactly the same breakup I use. And I've both traveled and lived in most of the US and a good bit of Canada.

The only real difference is I have the North East region go all the way down to Washington DC. This is the economic extent and you could argue even further south. But it looks like this map was done in 1980 and that would explain the differences.

Thanks !

I have no idea what happens here in Chicago
when SHTF but winters are not so cold as they
were and the aboriginals of this city will
just spend more time at the bar. Heating not
that big a problem. You would be surprised at
how many live without already.

Retired on the river

Hello Bob,
Mostly I lurk here and at Jay Hansons' sites, plus
the normal energy sites and have followed the state of
declining energy resources for several years. This post, in
my opinion, is the first one that actually spells it all out
for the Canadian production. Anyone who has stock in any
Appalachia gas companies are going to do very well in the coming years.
If you need a place to stay, we've got lots of room here
in southern Oregon...I love your tag line.


how big of plans (if any) is Canada making to increase the imports of Nat gas via LNG? From Russia, Qatar, Iran, etc?

Would that effectively serve as a conduit to continue to be able to export gas to US (they would be our importing middleman?)

And thanks Libelle for this analysis.

You still think US is a third world country and we don't know it yet?

I think that there is just one LNG terminal actually going ahead right now - the one near Quebec City. Getting supply will be the problem. Canadian LNG terminals would indeed simply be a way of getting gas to the U.S.. How much longer will U.S. dollars be a currency that anyone wants?

As for the U.S. entering the ranks of third world countries, one can already see some of the characteristics - rich/poor division, the apparent failure of democracy, health care problems. Cut off the imported fuel and what do you have left? That's when we'll find out what "U.S. values" really are. I'm not entirely pessimistic about that.

There's more, it was seven not so long ago.. From September '06:

Selling Canada by the cubic foot

Two LNG terminals in Canada have been approved, Bear Head in Nova Scotia and Canaport in New Brunswick. Two are awaiting approval in Quebec for the St-Lawrence River: Gros Cacouna, owned by TransCanada and Petro Canada, and Rabaska, owned by Gaz M├ętro, Gaz de France and Enbridge.

There's a fifth one planned on the Saguenay River, a St-Lawrence tributary, named Grande-Anse. There's at least one in BC going forward. Excuse me for not knowing all the latest details offhand. I can say that I haven't seen confirmed cancellations for any of these plants. There are strong suspicions that the Quebec terminals are planned to serve the New England market demand. All Quebec electricity and most of its home heating is hydropower, not gas.


What happened to the Pioneer Wy and Meeker Co. gas plants that were to supply the Rocky Mountain Express pipeline to Ohio? That major project seemed to have died on the vine.

I would like to see Synthetic Natural Gas (SNG) made from gasifying biomass from the 50 million acres of switchgrass that we grow now to preserve the soil. Price floors might need to be established to make it viable, but it would be CO2 neutral and renewable.

This is why next year I'll be installing a ground-source heat pump. For those who can do so and do so soon before the rush starts.

Richard Wakefield
London, Ont.

No one is ahead of their time, just the rest of humanity is slow to catch on.


Yes, ground source heat pumps are the logical next step. The price of electricity won't go up much because we can generate it from wind and nuclear.

Have you investigated costs for a ground source heat pump system?

The reasonable approach would be for us Canadians to reduce our exports of NG in step with declining production. The same should be true of oil as well. There is little chance of this happening as our government and business leaders are looking for the easy buck or to please their political buddies in Washington. And perhaps to avoid meeting Mr. Abrams on the Alberta plain. In any event it is likely that economic disaster will postpone the problem in the short term. Once that happens all of our speculation here will be meaningless and we will all be doing some open field running. We should all be taking steps to survive the first few weeks or months of this phase but I think we need to forget about personal survival based upon any technical preparations and be prepared to work with our friends, neighbours and families on joint solutions.
I wish we could afford the life we are living.

On the other hand there was strong growth in LNG projects when natural gas was above $8.00/mcf. This supply side advantage is being offeset by strong growth in natural gas cars in places like Brazil, Germany, and elsewhere. The price diffential between gasoline and nat. gas makes CNG cars an viable concept.

I've been seeing comments for months now that the oil sands are in trouble when the supply of natural gas gets tight. Perhaps I'm overlooking something, but given a high enough price of crude oil, could not the tar sands be self-sustaining? That is, a portion of the crude oil product could be diverted back into tar sands production? For sure this would cut their yield, but if crude is selling for $200 that would seem to leave room to do this. Or is there some technical reason why natural gas must be used? This is of course irrespective of all the other issues regarding where they'll get enough water from, and how to deal with the waste water....and so on.