April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian natural gas rose as analysts forecast that U.S. stockpiles increased by less than average last week.
Alberta gas gained 3.8 percent. U.S. inventories probably gained 24 billion cubic feet to 2.511 trillion last week, the median of 20 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The five-year average increase is 26 billion, according to the Energy Department, which releases its weekly survey of gas in storage tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. in Washington.
“We’re seeing a little buying ahead of tomorrow’s numbers,” said Carl Neill, a consultant with Risk Management Inc. in Atlanta. “The high levels of storage are keeping a lid on prices.”
Alberta gas for May delivery rose 5.5 cents to C$1.52 a gigajoule ($1.45 per million British thermal units) as of 2:40 p.m. New York time on NGX, a Canadian Internet market.
Gas traded on the exchange is shipped to users in Canada and the U.S. and priced on TransCanada Corp.’s Alberta system. NGX gas is down 47 percent this year.
Natural gas for May delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled unchanged at a 10-year low of $1.951 per million Btu.
Spot gas at the Alliance delivery point near Chicago rose 0.34 cent to $2.031 per million Btu on the Intercontinental Exchange. Alliance is an express line that can carry 1.5 billion cubic feet a day from western Canada.
At the Kingsgate point on the border of Idaho and British Columbia, gas advanced 1.7 cents to $1.8181 per million Btu. At Malin, Oregon, where Canadian gas is traded for California markets, prices gained 2.85 cents to $1.885.
Volume on TransCanada’s Alberta system, which collects the output of most of the nation’s gas wells, was 16.3 billion cubic feet, 450 million below target.
Gas was flowing at a daily rate of 2.27 billion cubic feet at Empress, Alberta, where the fuel is transferred to TransCanada’s main line.
At McNeil, Saskatchewan, where gas is transferred to the Northern Border Pipeline for shipment to the Chicago area, the daily flow rate was 1.96 billion cubic feet.
Available capacity on TransCanada’s British Columbia system at Kingsgate was 928 million cubic feet. The system was forecast to carry 1.73 billion cubic feet today, or 65 percent of its capacity of 2.65 billion.
The volume on Spectra Energy’s British Columbia system, which gathers the fuel in northeastern British Columbia for delivery to Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest, totaled 3.06 billion cubic feet at 1:35 p.m.
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