British Columbia's (BC) natural gas industry this year saw more investment, increased market share and more wells drilled, boosting the province's economic recovery, according to the BC Ministry of Energy.

Drilling increased in 2010 by 10.3% over 2009. BC now accounts for 14% of all gas wells drilled in Canada, up from 5.7% in 2000.

Gas production is forecast to reach 1.14 Tcf, and provincial revenue is projected to be C$1.38 billion in fiscal year 2010-2011. BC's gas reserves have more than doubled since 2000, now counting for more that 30% of Canada's total reserves.

With the markets in Asia poised to quickly increase natural gas consumption, BC is well positioned to reap the benefits of having one of the largest deposits of natural gas in North America, the ministry said. Developers are currently working on plans to create natural gas liquefaction and export capability from BC (see Daily GPI, Dec. 27).

The gas industry invested C$5.2 billion in capital in the province in 2009, and more is expected for 2010, according to the ministry. "This is more than 23% of all natural gas investment in Canada and is almost three times as much as a decade ago," it said.

BC is one member of a trio of western Canadian provinces that recently made a pact to expand the region's energy sector (see Daily GPI, Dec. 20).

December's natural gas and petroleum land sale in the province resulted in more than C$42 million in bonus bids, according to the ministry. The sale finishes 2010 with the fourth-best year-end total in history, Energy Minister Steve Thomson said.

"Despite the pressures of a global recession and the decline in average gas prices, we have reached another strong year in natural gas and petroleum sales," said Thomson. "Industry has come forward with their commitment to produce here in BC, ensuring the natural gas and petroleum sector will maintain a long-term role in creating jobs and generating government revenue."

The latest sale offered 23 parcels covering 22,017 hectares and sold 20 parcels covering 21,208 hectares, for an average per-hectare price of C$1,993. The next sale, scheduled for Jan. 19, will offer 25 parcels covering 32,225 hectares.

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