We’ve watched the level of natural gas production in Western Canada drop over the past several years. This is due primarily to an increase in shale gas activity in the United States and a lack of market access within and outside of Canada. As it stands, the number of natural gas wells drilled in Canada declined 44% from 2017 to 2018, or from 1,592 wells to 883. Because of this, prices have dropped, as have capital investment, activity and employment levels.
And while these challenges don’t bode well for the natural gas industry or the jobs it creates, there is hope with liquified natural gas (LNG) developments.
According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, supplying natural gas for conversion to LNG and exporting product will create up to 10,000 jobs for every billion cubic feet-per-day of production. These jobs will be in the oil and gas industry as well as other industries involved in planning and building the infrastructure to transport, transform and export the LNG, and are in addition to the work related to producing the natural gas.
Why liquify natural gas?
When natural gas is cooled to a liquid form it is safer and easier to transport. Global demand for natural gas is expected to grow substantially over the next decade as cleaner-burning natural gas replaces coal as an energy source. There is national and international interest in Canadian LNG.
What job-creating projects are on the books?
In British Columbia there are two LNG facilities ready for development and two others proposed. To date, LNG Canada is moving ahead. Three more are proposed for Canada’s East Coast and Québec. These facilities require a steady supply of natural gas and a transport method like pipelines from the gas fields to the liquefaction facilities. Several processing facilities are also required to purify the natural gas prior to liquefaction. Infrastructure is further required to support the export of natural gas by-products like propane and butane. AltaGas’s propane export project and Pembina Pipeline’s liquid petroleum gas export project, for instance, are expected to drive increased investment and drilling activity in B.C. and Alberta.
The LNG industry supports a variety of occupations, including:
- Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators, including pipeline
- Power engineers and power systems operators (steam-ticket required)
- Mechanical engineers, technologists and technicians
- Civil engineers, technologists and technicians
- Supervisors for petroleum, gas and chemical processing and utilities
- Information technology occupations
- Regulatory and stakeholder engagement occupations
- Purchasing agents and officers
If a role in the LNG sector appeals to you, we encourage you to have a look at the Career Explorer tool to see what occupations match your skills and education.