Output of oil and gas in Western Canada declines

Oil and natural gas production from frontier prospects in the Northwest Territories is on a steady decline, federal Canadian data show Wednesday.

The National Energy Board published data on production from the Norman and Ikhil fields in the Northwest Territories. The regional government estimates the western area may hold as much as 37 % of the marketable light crude oil in Canada and as much as 35 % of its gas.

NEB said it estimates the region produced 3.9 million barrels of oil and around 2.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas last year. That’s down around 25 % for oil and 17 % for natural gas when compared with production figures from 2010.

David Ramsay, the regional minister of industry, told members of the Canadian Parliament last month the oil and gas potential in the Northwest Territories is “world class,” estimating the territory holds as much as 7 billion barrels of oil and 80 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

While oil and natural gas activity has a legacy in the territory, Ramsay said low oil prices may curtail future investments, adding the oil and gas sector “is far from reaching its full potential.”

A January report from the International Monetary Fund found lower crude oil prices would be a drag on investment activity in Canada, with the energy sector bearing the brunt of market trends.

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice last week said lawmakers need to focus on a sustainable economic model that does away with an over-reliance on revenue generated from oil and natural gas.

Much of the Canadian energy sector is centered in and around fields near Alberta province. Much of the oil there is a heavier grade.

Nearly all of the Canadian oil and natural gas exports head to a U.S. economy that’s relying less on foreign reserves because of increased production from shale basins.

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