Canadian natural gas export volumes and revenues both shrank last year, according to trade records compiled by the Canada Energy Regulator (CER).

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Pipeline deliveries to the United States dropped by 8% to 6.8 Bcf/from 7.4 Bcf/d in 2019. Canadian gas export revenues plunged by 24% to C$6.9 billion ($5.5 billion) last year from C$9.1 billion ($7.3 billion) in 2019.

Pipeline imports into Canada from the United States also were down, declining by 12% to 2.2 Bcf/d in 2020 from 2.5 Bcf/d the year before.

“In recent years the overall net value of natural gas exports has declined mainly due to lower prices and demand for Canadian gas and robust natural gas supply in the U.S.,” said the CER.

Most Canadian “natural gas imports flow by pipeline across the border into Ontario. Recently, net imports have increased at the areas bordering the U.S. East because pipeline reversals have allowed growing Appalachian gas production to flow into Ontario.”

The value of Canadian gas imports from the United States dove by 35% to C$2.2 billion ($1.8 billion) in 2020 from C$3.4 billion ($2.7 billion) in 2019, the records indicated.

While the Covid-19 pandemic contributed, the 2020 gas trade erosion continued a long trend driven by growth of low-cost production across North America’s onshore. 

Annual Canadian exports to the Lower 48 have dropped by 22% from 3.2 Tcf in 2010 to the 2020 total of 2.5 Tcf. Imports from the United States, meanwhile, grew from scratch to their current level.

For example, Canadian gas pipeline exports to the U.S. Midwest plunged by 37% from 2010 to 2020, from 1.7 Tcf to 1 Tcf. Exports to the U.S. Northeast sharply fell, down by 48%, from 576 Bcf in 2010 to 300 Bcf in 2020.

The regional Canadian export shrinkages in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast have only been partially offset by an 18% increase in pipeline deliveries to the U.S. West, where 2020 sales of 1.1 Tcf in 2020 were up from 960 Bcf in 2010.