Hydrocarbon gas liquids facts
What are hydrocarbon gas liquids?
Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs) include natural gas liquids (NGLs) (propane, butane, and ethane) and olefins produced by natural gas processing plants and upstream processing or by crude oil refineries.
These gases can be easily liquefied, and therefore are commonly referred to as “liquids”.
Supply and demand
In 2019, Canadian production of hydrocarbon gas liquids was 684.8 thousand barrels per day, which is composed by:
- Propane: 294.5 Mb/d
- Butane: 195.6 Mb/d, and
- Ethane: 241.8 Mb/d
The total amount of hydrocarbon gas liquids exported in 2019 was 243.8 thousand barrels per day. Canada also imported 48.6 thousand barrels per day.
Supply and demand excludes condensates and pentanes plus, which are included as part of crude oil, and includes refinery-produced LPGs.
Gas processing plant production of hydrocarbon gas liquids in 2019 was 682 thousand barrels per day. Alberta has the largest share of production at 85%, British Columbia follows with 13%, and Saskatchewan with 2%.
Natural gas liquids energy use
Natural gas liquids (NGLs) have a wide variety of industrial and commercial uses. For example, ethane, propane and butane are used as feedstock for the creation of value added petrochemicals (e.g. polypropylene which is used in a wide variety of consumer products, such as plastics). NGLs can also be used for residential and commercial heating, cooking fuel, blending with vehicle fuel, diluent for heavy oil and bitumen, or for the production of fertilizers.
In 2017, the total use of energy by natural gas liquids was 142.7 PJ.
|Sector||Energy use* (PJ)||% of the total|
Natural gas liquids energy use by province
Each province depends on and utilizes natural gas liquids in different ways. The following depicts the natural gas liquids energy use by province in 2017. Alberta consumed the most natural gas liquids as energy at 35.24% followed by Ontario with 35.20%.
Learn more about liquefied natural gas.
Total consumption of hydrocarbon gas liquids in 2017 was 142.7 PJ. Alberta and Ontario had the largest share of consumption at 35%, followed by Quebec at 12%, British Columbia and the Territories at 6%, the Atlantic Provinces and Saskatchewan at 5%, and Manitoba at 3%.
Canadian supply and demand: Statistics Canada tables 25-10-0076-01 and 25-10-0036-01, Canada Energy Regulator (Exports) and Statistics Canada International Merchandise Trade Database (Imports)
Production by province: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Statistical Handbook tables 3.5 (Canadian Propane Production), 3.6 (Canadian Butane Production) and 3.14 (Canadian Ethane Production) and Statistics Canada table 25-10-0042-01
Natural gas liquids energy use: NRCan Office of Energy Efficiency’s National Energy Use Database
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