Canada was home to the world's fifth-largest natural gas industry in 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Private companies of all sizes engage in natural gas production across the Canadian landscape. However, only a small group of firms deliver an average output of more than 300 million cubic feet per day. While some of these firms are integrated oil and gas companies with extensive operations in upstream and downstream industries, others focus on upstream exploration and production.

Natural gas production in Canada, as elsewhere, faced many challenges in the past few years, the most prominent of which has been the volatility of energy prices. Canada was also particularly hurt by competition from cheap U.S. shale oil when production from those sources was at its height.

Most public natural gas companies had a rough earnings year in 2016, followed by some recovery in 2017 and 2018. The largest natural gas producers managed to make mild gains during the first ten months of 2019, but it was a challenging year for most small firms. As Canadian companies, all seven of these stocks are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). Most of them are also listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to provide easier access for U.S. investors.

1. Suncor Energy, Inc.

Suncor Energy, Inc. (NYSE: SU, TSX: SU.TO) is an integrated oil and gas company and a significant producer of bitumen. Natural gas extraction is only one part of the firm's business. However, it had a far higher total market capitalization than any other Canadian natural gas producer. Suncor was worth about 47.65 billion U.S. dollars (63.29 billion Canadian) as of November 2019.

2. Canadian Natural Resources Limited

Canadian Natural Resources Limited (NYSE: CNQ, TSX: CNQ.TO) ranks among the largest oil and gas exploration and production companies in the world. In addition to its North American natural gas and crude oil operations, the firm produces crude oil in the North Sea and offshore African waters. In late 2019, Canadian Natural Resources had a market capitalization of 30.82 billion U.S. dollars (40.42 billion Canadian).

3. Imperial Oil

Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX: IMO.TO) is an integrated oil and gas giant. In addition to crude oil, the company also produces natural gas. Although it is a Canadian company, Imperial Oil was 69.6% owned by Exxon Mobil (XOM) in 2019. Imperial Oil was formed in 1880. The company had a market capitalization of about 19.20 billion U.S. dollars (25.23 billion Canadian) in November 2019.

4. Cenovus Energy, Inc.

Cenovus Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CVE, TSX: CVE.TO) is an integrated oil and gas company with large conventional crude oil, oil sands, and natural gas operations in Canada and refining operations in the United States. Cenovus Energy's average daily natural gas production declined in recent years. This trend began with its decision to focus capital investment on crude oil resources. The company had a market capitalization of about 10.72 billion U.S. dollars (14.06 billion Canadian) as of November 2019.

5. Husky Energy, Inc.

Husky Energy, Inc. (TSX: HSE.TO) is an integrated oil and gas giant with production operations across Canada, in the United States, and the South China Sea. It operates a half-dozen refineries in North America and owns retail service stations in Canada. The company had a market capitalization of about 7.68 billion U.S. dollars (10.01 billion Canadian) in November 2019.

6. Encana Corporation

Encana Corp. (NYSE: ECA, TSX: ECA.TO) produces oil and natural gas in the U.S. and Canada. Many of its operations are near its headquarters in Calgary. However, the firm also has interests in Texas and off the coast of Nova Scotia. Despite a long history in Canada, Encana announced plans to move the company to the U.S. and change its name to Ovintiv in October 2019. Encana had a market capitalization of about 6.26 billion U.S. dollars (8.11 billion Canadian) as of November 2019.

7. Tourmaline Oil Corporation

Tourmaline Oil Corp. (TSX: TOU.TO) operates primarily as a crude oil and natural gas exploration and production firm. The company was established in 2008 and experienced high growth as production activities ramped up. Like many other firms on this list, Tourmaline is based in Calgary and operates mostly in Western Canada. Tourmaline Oil had a market value of 2.56 billion U.S. dollars (3.34 billion Canadian) in November 2019.