Northwest consumers benefit from access to different supply basins because shippers can flow from the regions that offer the best value at the time. As you can see in the map to the left, the Pacific Northwest is served by two prolific sources of supply: the WCSB and the U.S. Rockies, predominately, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Together these regions produced an average of 24.3 Bcf/d in 2015,1 or more than 30 percent of North America’s total natural gas supply. Production from these two areas is projected to approach a combined 30 Bcf/d by 2025.2
Natural Gas Supply Variables
Key issues identified in prior Outlooks as having the potential to affect natural gas supplies are still relevant. They include:
- Development of new or improved well-completion technologies and techniques.
- The effect of the current low natural gas and oil prices environment on future production.
- Potential environmental impacts on natural gas production and pipeline expansions.
- Adequate access to gas supply, e.g., pipeline expansions and their timing.
- Local and national legislation or regulations affecting production/extraction processes.
The chart to the left is not a complete picture as it documents flows on only one of the two pipelines serving the region. It is nonetheless representative of how the region sources its natural gas. For instance, in 2007 more than half the gas delivered to Northwest Pipeline shippers was sourced from the Rockies. The share of Canadian gas serving the Northwest has increased over the last several years as the price differential between Rockies and Canadian gas has widened, due in part to the growth in northern BC production.
¹ Statistics Canada, Table 131-0001 – Supply and Disposition of Natural Gas, 2016; EIA, Natural Gas Gross Withdrawals and Production by State (CO, UT, WY), 2015
² NEB, Canada’s Energy Future 2016: http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/nrg/ntgrtd/ftr/2016/index-eng.html – WCSB, January 2016; EIA, 2016 AEO Lower 48 Natural Gas Production and Prices by Supply Region (Table 61) – Dakotas/Rocky Mountain Region, July 2016