Only eight years of natural gas left in Canada?

Dan Crawford reports for the Republic, “Vancouver’s opinionated newspaper,” from a talk by Dave Hughes of Natural Resources Canada that there is only eight years of natural gas left in Canada:

Consumption trends and patterns were also explored. In every case, the phenomenal growth rates in our economy show a complete disconnect with the reality of the resources currently supporting them. Canada, for example, has 8.1 years left in natural gas reserves.

This isn’t entirely correct.

According to the latest annual review (pdf), as of January, 2004, there were 68 Trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves, 171 Tcf of discovered resources, and 366 Tcf of undiscovered resources (check out the 2000 review for detailed definitions of these terms). In 2004, 5.9 Tcf were extracted.

The prediction of 8.1 years is quite obviously based on proven reserves.

If you include discovered reserves — the ones that are drilled and known with certaintly, but are too far from existing pipelines to economically extract currently — that number more than triples. Once you add to that the undiscovered reserves — known to contain gas, but not yet drilled — the number grows much larger.

So we have more than 8 years before we’re forced to replace our furnaces and water heaters with something else, although it’s easy to point out compelling reasons to switch sooner.

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