Canadians are facing increasingly complex and difficult energy choices because of the country’s crude oil decline, flat natural gas production from the once prolific Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and increasing development of new non-traditional sources of supply, according to the 2003 annual report issued Tuesday by the National Energy Board (NEB).

Several public hearings last year led the NEB to conclude that there were looming challenges ahead. The hearings, held across the country, “drew a large number of participants and took many months to complete.” The NEB also reported that it had to facilitate discussions or adjudicate on matters involving several billions of dollars in transportation tolls.

“It is expected that the degree of complexity of choices facing Canadians, and therefore the board’s number and scope of challenges and opportunities, will continue to increase in years to come,” said Ken Vollman, NEB chairman.

To replace oil and gas production, Canadians will be faced with developing new liquefied natural gas facilities, as well as constructing new pipelines. Last year, the NEB actively began to develop the regulatory framework for the proposed Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline, and that program continues to move forward (see related story).

The full report is available on the web site at under “What’s New!”

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