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The money it annually collects as royalties from natural gas producers has fallen a long way in recent years, from more than two and half billion dollars in 2008, to less than 232 million last year. The Sun story mainly attributes that to the long term decline in gas prices, on North American trading markets, following widespread adoption of more sophisticated extraction technology. It also notes the exceptionally mild winter across much of North America this year, has dampened demand even further, pushing prices down to their lowest level in a decade.

However, it adds that’s expected to change, with projected gas royalty revenues of 398 million dollars in fiscal 2012/13 and 846 million in 2014/15. It quotes Finance Minister Kevin Falcon as saying  the government’s price projections are averaged out from expert forecasters in the sector.

The second monthly sale this calendar year is set for today, and comes on the heels of one last month, which generated  32.2 million dollars in bonus bids. That was more than four times the January sales total last year and it will take less than 10 million today, for a repeat performance, following a dismal 2011 February sale of only 2.1 million. 

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