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Canadian Natural Gas Slips on Speculation Over Inventory Levels

Canadian natural gas fell amid speculation that U.S. inventories may rise as supplies increase.

June gas in Alberta slid 1.7 percent. More gas from eastern Canada will be available as output from the Sable Offshore Energy Project, owned by Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp., returned to normal last week after an outage, analysts at FirstEnergy Capital Corp. said in a note to clients.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty about what’s to come Thursday,” when the U.S. Energy Department reports gas inventories, said Eric Bickel, an analyst with Summit Energy Services in Louisville, Kentucky. “It’s keeping the markets at bay.”

Alberta gas for June delivery fell 3 cents to C$1.765 a gigajoule ($1.67 per million British thermal units) as of 12:30 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 has declined 38 percent this year.

The gain in output from Sable comes as the Canaport Liquefied Natural Gas facility in New Brunswick is undergoing planned maintenance though May 16, affecting its ability to ship fuel, Calgary-based FirstEnergy said. Sable Island gas that is not exported as LNG or used locally is transported to a pipeline hub near Boston for sale.

Natural gas for June delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange slipped 3.8 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $2.298 per million Btu at 12:35 p.m.

Pipeline Flows

Volume on TransCanada’s Alberta system, which collects the output of most of the nation’s gas wells, was 16.6 billion cubic feet, 180 million below target.

Gas was flowing at a daily rate of 2.09 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 1.99 billion cubic feet.

Available capacity on TransCanada’s British Columbia system at Kingsgate was 926 million cubic feet. The system was forecast to carry 1.69 billion cubic feet today, or 65 percent of its capacity of 2.62 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 2.97 billion cubic feet at 11:20 a.m.

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