Author: Canadian Geographic
Publish Date: Oct 31, 2018 Last Update: Oct 31, 2018
Hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGLs) are produced in natural gas processing plants and crude oil refineries. Although raw natural gas is composed mostly of methane, there are also some heavier hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane and butane, as well as olefins. These heavier hydrocarbons are liquified and used in the petrochemical industry for things like space heating, plastic manufacturing, and fuel. HGLs are liquified by cooling and that is why they are sometimes referred to as condensate, because the liquids condense once they hit their specific dew points. HGLs can also be produced by changing the pressure in a wellsite.
Note, natural gas liquids (NGLs) are not the same thing as liquid natural gas (LNG), which is simply natural gas in its liquid state. HGLs and NGLs are often referred to interchangeably.
In 2017, Canada produced 672.4 thousand barrels per day of HGLs — propane made up about 38 per cent, ethane was 36 per cent, and butane was approximately 26 per cent. Canada exported about a quarter of its HGLs in 2017.
Alberta produces more than 85 per cent of these liquids, with British Columbia making up about 10 per cent of national production. Alberta also consumed the most NGLs for energy use (39 per cent), followed by Ontario (28 per cent) and then Quebec (13 per cent).
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