hi-natural-gas852

Many natural gas drilling operations in northeastern B.C. are at a standstill because of falling prices. (CBC)

While the B.C. government is planning for a liquefied natural gas boom, falling natural gas prices means many rigs in northeastern B.C. are sitting idle.

In the Horn River Basin in B.C.'s far northeast, natural gas drilling has all but dried up.

"At one time we probably had a couple dozen rigs working up there,” said David Rushford, chair of the Horn River Basin Producers Group.

“Now you can count them on three or four fingers."

He says falling natural gas prices are to blame for the slowdown.

"We don't see that ending any time soon, so the result of that has been quite a scale back of activity up in those areas."

Rushford says the low gas prices are the result of too much supply in North America.

As many as twelve export facilities are in various stages of development, and the Liberal government is the industry's biggest cheerleader.

Rushford expects prices will rise and work will pick up if the proposed facilities are built in B.C.

"Once those actually start getting built, you'll see the gas demand for those projects go up quite dramatically, and that will have a boomerang effect on all gas producers."

But Rushford says it will be at least five years before the first project is up and running.

With files from CBC's Marissa Harvey