British Columbia saw the lowest number of new gas wells drilled last year than it has in nearly 20 years, according to information from the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission.
Despite this, overall gas production remains high.
Since 1996, the majority of new wells drilled in the province produce natural gas. In 2015, just 269 new gas wells were drilled, the lowest since 1997 when 326 wells were drilled.
Last year, the province produced just over 36 billion cubic metres of natural gas. Since 2007, the province has averaged about 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year.
OGC spokesman Alan Clay said he would have to see final year-end numbers before commenting, as some December numbers could still be arriving.
“One factor would be that new gas wells have above average initial production rates compared to previous average vertical conventional wells,” he said.
Since 1996, the province has seen an average of 611 new gas wells drilled annually. This means that the number of new gas wells drilled went down by more than half the 20-year average in 2015.
Oil wells have also dipped over the past 10 years, reaching their lowest point last year when only 25 oil wells were drilled.
Since 2005, the province has seen about 39 oil wells drilled annually.
Including all other types of wells, including service and cased wells, there were 518 wells drilled in 2015. Since 2011, the province has averaged about 585 wells drilled.