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Colder-Than-Normal Conditions Boost Domestic Sales

Colder-than-normal temperatures in most provinces produced higher natural gas sales in March and kept overall totals up for the quarter compared to 2007, Statistics Canada reports.

Gains for March domestic gas sales were up for the two sectors that are most influenced by weather conditions - residential and commercial.

In addition, sales to the industrial sector, including direct transactions, were also higher.

"Residential, commercial and industrial sector sales volumes rose due to colder-than-normal temperatures in most province," StatsCan reported.

Overall, domestic gas sales for March rose by 7.5% to just under 8.54 billion cubic metres from about 7.94 billion cubic metres in 2007.

For the quarter, overall sales at 26.49 billion cubic metres were up 2.4% compared to just under 25.87 billion cubic metres last year, according to StatsCan data.

Residential sales in March jumped by 13.6% to just under 2.54 billion cubic metres from 2.23 billion cubic metres in 2007.

StatsCan's Natural Gas Flash showed Ontario at 1.46 billion cubic metres was easily the dominant market for residential gas sales as it nearly tripled Alberta's 511.11 million cubic metres.

British Columbia was third in residential sales at 267.75 million cubic metres, according to StatsCan data.

As for commercial sales in March, the total reached just under 1.88 billion cubic metres, up 14.8% from about 1.64 billion cubic metres in the 2007 period.

Again, Ontario was by far the biggest market for commercial gas sales at 967 million cubic metres. Alberta was again the second biggest market at 300.91 million cubic metres, but Quebec was a much closer third at 260.62 million cubic metres. B.C. was next at just under 168.86 million cubic metres.

Industrial sector sales, including direct transactions, for March increased by just 1.3% in rising to just under 4.12 billion cubic metres from about 4.07 billion cubic metres in 2007.

Direct transactions comprised 2.13 billion cubic metres of the overall industrial sector sales for March. Direct and strictly industrial sector sales were both up compared to March 2007.

StatsCan's Natural Gas Flash for March showed overall industrial sales were highest in Alberta, where the total came in at just over 1.68 billion cubic metres, followed by Ontario at just under 1.21 billion cubic metres.

Alberta's sales in this sector were strictly industrial, while the bulk of the Ontario transactions at 1.08 billion cubic metres involved direct deals.

Industrial sales for B.C., Saskatchewan and Quebec were next at 355.32 million, 351.17 million and 295.09 million cubic metres, respectively.

The majority of the B.C., Saskatchewan and Quebec industrial sales involved direct transactions.

In overall gas sales for March, Ontario accounted for the most at just under 3.64 billion cubic metres, followed by Alberta at 2.49 billion cubic metres and much further back by B.C., Quebec and Saskatchewan at 791.93 million, 654.1 million and 572.32 million cubic metres, respectively.

(Statistics Canada information is used with the permission of Statistics Canada. Information on the availability of the wide range of data from Statistics Canada can be obtained from Statistics Canada's regional offices, its World Wide Web site at http://www.statcan.ca and its toll free access number 1-800-263-1136.)

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