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B.C. energy exports tumble 16 per cent, but natural gas sees gains

B.C. is shipping more natural gas south of the border, but increased export volumes aren't making up for stubbornly low prices. That was one of the trends in a BC Stats report on exports released June 3. Overall, the value of B.C.
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Growing export volumes aren't making up for low prices, which have driven down natural gas exploration in Northeast B.C. File Photo

B.C. is shipping more natural gas south of the border, but increased export volumes aren't making up for stubbornly low prices.

That was one of the trends in a BC Stats report on exports released June 3.

Overall, the value of B.C.'s energy exports tumbled 16 per cent over the first four months of 2016. The province saw an across the board increase in exports of one per cent over the same period last year, driven mostly by both growth in shipments to the U.S., which saw 8.9 per cent growth. 

Natural gas shipment volumes grew 10.8 per cent, pushing the overall value of natural gas exports up 1.6 per cent. Nearly all of that gas went to the U.S. as the province struggles to develop export facilities for liquefied natural gas. Prices for the commodity remain low amid a glut in supply, which has led to a major downturn in drilling and exploration activity in the province's northeast. 

Coal led the way in energy export losses, with export values falling 22.9 per cent. Total shipments of coal fell just 2.3 per cent, with the rest of the shortfall explained by low commodity prices. 

Electricity exports also fell (8.3 per cent), along with exports of other energy products (25.8 per cent).

With the exception of India—where B.C. exports saw gains of 35.5 per cent—demand was weak in much of the rest of Asia. Taiwan saw the biggest declines (22.2 per cent), followed by Hong Kong (15.2), South Korea (14.2), Japan (11) and Mainland China (3.1).

Shipments to the European Union and Mexico fell 8.3 and 72.7 per cent, respectively. 

reporter@dcdn.ca