Move over Alberta oil sands, the Conference Board of Canada pitches the natural gas industry as the up and coming jobs creator.
Canada’s natural gas industry will rival the oilsands and generate more than a quarter of a million jobs a year for the next two decades, says one of Canada’s most influential business think-tanks. The Conference Board of Canada expects Canada’s natural gas industry to add more than $1 trillion to Canada’s economy over the next 24 years and support an average of 260,000 jobs a year over that time frame.
Much of that is likely to come from the two provinces with extensive gas holdings — B.C. and Alberta. But there will be spinoff benefits across the country, and governments at all levels will reap tax revenues on top of the GDP bump. The benefits are focused the most where natural gas is produced. After undergoing a boom earlier this decade, natural gas prices have been flatlining for several years after new technologies have made vast shale gas holdings suddenly economical. That’s created a supply glut that’s holding down prices.
Natural gas was going for $4.40 per million British thermal units in New York today, well off the highs of around $12 seen before the recession of 2008, but up from $3.30 just a few short months ago.
Over the 24-year horizon, natural gas investments will help generate 560,000 person-years of employment in Ontario, and 199,000 person-years of employment in Quebec. Saskatchewan is expected to support 92,400 person-years of employment and Manitoba 39,200 person-years.
Natural gas jobs are being pitched big time in the current BC election campaign. The government claims that as many as 75,000 full-time jobs and 39,000 construction jobs BC’s new natural gas industry is expected to generate in the years ahead. Liquefied natural gas is a brand-new commodity for British Columbia.
Canada is the world’s third largest producer of natural gas with average annual production of 6.4 trillion cubic feet (tcf).
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has a nifty website on the natural gas industry. The graphic to the left shows the CAPP forecast of natural gas production in Canada.
Interestingly the northern plays, Horn River and Mackenzie Valley, increase in prominence as conventional gas recedes.