Natural Gas Facts

Natural gas volume

In Canada, volumes of natural gas are typically measured in cubic metres.

  • One cubic metre is about the space taken up by a standard kitchen refrigerator.

In the U.S., volumes of natural gas are usually measured in cubic feet.

  • One cubic foot is equivalent to the area inside a microwave oven.
  • Volumes of natural gas produced or sold are usually reported in millions, billions or trillions of cubic metres or feet. A typical well in Canada would produce 9,600 cubic metres of natural gas per day. A similar well in the U.S. would express its production as 338,800 cubic feet per day (or 338.8 Mcf per day)

Natural gas energy value

Natural gas energy value is typically measured by gigajoules; in the U.S., it is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs).

  • One gigajoule is one billion joules. The amount of energy consumed each year in a typical Canadian home is equivalent to 120 gigajoules.
  • One BTU is 1054.615 joules, equivalent to the amount of energy released by completely burning one wooden match.

The amount of energy represented by one gigajoule is equivalent to about 30 litres of gasoline, 39 litres of propane, 278 kilowatt-hours of electricity or 45.5 kilograms of coal. The average home in Alberta uses about 120 gigajoules of natural gas per year. Examples of average energy consumption for standard household appliances include:

  • 40 gigajoules a year to heat a 40-gallon hot water tank for a family of four.
  • 4.3 gigajoules for a gas dryer processing 400 loads of laundry a year.
  • 4.2 gigajoules a year for natural gas range used two hours per day.
  • 3 gigajoules for a gas barbecue used 100 hours per year.

Source: Modified from Alberta Energy

Abbreviations

Natural Gas

thousand cubic feetMcf
million cubic feetMMcf
thousand cubic feet per dayMcf/d
million cubic feet per dayMMcf/d
million British Thermal UnitsMMbtu
billion cubic feetBcf
trillion cubic feetTcf
gigajouleGJ
thousand cubic feet of gas equivalent
(1 Bbl/6 Mcf )
Mcfe

Oil and Natural Gas Liquids

barrelBbl
barrelsBbls
thousand barrelsMbbls
million barrelsMMbbls
barrels per dayBbls/d
barrels of oil per dayBopd
natural gas liquidsNGLs
barrel of oil equivalent
(6 Mcf/bbl)
Boe

Conversions

Convert fromConvert toMultiply by
cubic footcubic metre0.028328
cubic metrecubic foot35.301
million cubic feet1,000 cubic metres28.328
1,000 cubic metresmillion cubic feet0.0353
BTUsjoule1054.615
JoulBTUs0.0009482
million BTUsgigajoule1.054615
gigajoulemillion BTUs0.94821