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Natural gas transport and distribution systems, 2015

Released: 2017-03-22

Canadian natural gas pipeline transport revenues were up 2.0% from 2014 to $5.7 billion in 2015.

The increase in transport revenue reflected the nature of the pipeline business, where tolls are charged for transportation services that are related to volumes carried. Overall, tolls and volumes of natural gas delivered were slightly higher in 2015, including a 1.3 billion cubic metre increase in volumes delivered to oil and gas extraction facilities and a 287.1 billion cubic metre gain in volumes exported, which explained the associated increase in revenues.

Canadian natural gas distribution revenues were down 1.4% from 2014 to $12.1 billion in 2015.

The decrease in revenue was related to lower distribution volumes in 2015, including a 1.8 billion cubic metre decrease in volumes delivered to the commercial and residential sectors. Commercial and residential customers primarily use gas for heating and the drop in 2015 coincided with a relatively warm winter compared with the long cold winter of 2014.

Canadian oil and gas companies produced over 160 billion cubic metres of natural gas in 2015. Transport pipelines exported 78.2 billion cubic metres to the United States in 2015 and delivered 20.7 billion cubic metres of gas to Canadian oil and gas extraction facilities. Canadian distribution systems delivered 30.1 billion cubic metres to commercial and residential customers.

Operating expenses in line with volumes delivered

Pipeline transport operating expenses increased 2.8% from 2014 to $3.9 billion in 2015 and were in line with the rise in volumes carried by the pipelines. Depreciation was unchanged at $1.3 billion while interest on long-term debt was up 12.0% to $1.8 billion.

With respect to the balance sheet, pipeline transport companies reported total assets of $64.2 billion in 2015, up 3.7% from a year earlier. On the liabilities side, debt was up 22.8% from 2014 to $37.6 billion, while shareholder equity decreased 23.1% to $16.8 billion.

Distribution system operating expenses decreased 2.4% from 2014 to $10.4 billion and were in line with the decrease in volumes carried that coincided with a relatively warm winter in 2015, compared with the long cold winter of 2014. Depreciation (up 6.1% to $1.5 billion) and interest on long-term debt (up 5.8% to $754.9 million) increased.

As for the balance sheet, distribution companies reported total assets of $38.5 billion in 2015, up 0.5% from a year earlier. On the liabilities side, debt was up 8.9% from 2014 to $16.0 billion, while shareholder equity was unchanged at $12.5 billion

Wages up in transport and distribution

Canadian natural gas pipeline companies employed 3,481 people in 2015, down 1.0% from a year earlier. Wages increased 4.7% to $483.0 million.

Natural gas distribution companies employed 12,729 people in 2015, up 0.2% from a year earlier. Wages increased 3.4% to $1.2 billion.

Pipeline distances higher

There were 89 071 kilometres of transport pipeline in Canada in 2015, up 1.5% from a year earlier. There were 243 500 kilometres of distribution pipeline in Canada, up 1.1% from a year earlier. Most of the new lines were built in Alberta.

In 2015, the International Energy Agency recognized Canada as the fourth largest natural gas producing nation, accounting for just under 5% of the world total.

  Note to readers

The Natural Gas Transport and Distribution Annual is a census that collects data on the financial, employment and operating activities of natural gas transport pipelines and distribution systems operating in Canada.

The survey collects financial and operating statistics on Canadian companies primarily engaged in natural gas distribution (North American Industry Classification System 221210) or in natural gas pipeline transportation (North American Industry Classification System 486210). More specifically, the survey collects financial, employment, income and balance sheet information as well as engineering and operating statistics.

Transport pipelines include gathering pipelines and transmission pipelines. Gathering pipelines collect natural gas from fields and plants. The gathered gas is then fed into large transmission pipelines that either deliver to distribution systems or to industrial consumers, such as oil and gas producers or power plants. In Canada, transport systems originate near the major gas producing regions of British Columbia and Alberta.

Distribution systems are pipeline networks that deliver gas directly to residential, commercial and industrial consumers. All the largest cities in Canada are serviced by natural gas distributors

Data available upon request.

Data for 2014 were revised.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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