Canadian exporters got off to a spectacular start, piling up a 253% increase in revenues from sales to the United States during the first quarter of the current natural gas contract year. In Canadian dollars, the value of gas exports shot up to $11.6 billion during the three months that ended Jan. 31 compared to $3.28 billion in the same period of 1999-2000, according to records kept by the National Energy Board.

Three-month sales volumes in the U.S. rose 18% to 1.06 Tcf compared to 903 Bcf during November through January of 1999-00. Average prices at the border jumped 198% to $10.10 per gigajoule from $3.39 in the first three months of the last contract year.

Exchange rates accounted for a small part of the gain expressed in Canadian currency. In U.S. dollars, gas export revenues rose 240% to $7.6 billion as prices increased 188% to $7.14 during the first quarter of the current contract year. Among destinations for gas exports, the biggest sales increases were in the northeastern U.S., where volumes of shipments rose 47% to 349 Bcf during November through January. The biggest price increases were on exports to the Pacific Northwest, where the jump was 267% to US$8.75 per MMBtu. With the new Alliance Pipeline to Chicago up and running as of December, volumes of first-quarter gas exports to the middle-western U.S. rose 20% to 400 Bcf. Middle-western prices rose 188% to US$6.78. Deliveries to California slipped 10.3% to 171 Bcf but prices climbed 204% to US$7.28.

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