April 8, 2019 / 10:17 AM / a year ago

BUZZ-Canadian oil: Market sentiment shifting to "modest optimism" from "complete apathy", says NBC

** National Bank of Canada says the broad energy sector is showing structural improvements as oil and gas producers rebound from a cyclical low

** NBC cites strong Alberta natural gas prices and higher demand for heavy oil in global markets

** Says supply/demand imbalance for heavy barrels has supported global oil prices; brokerage expects producers with U.S. Gulf Coast access to ramp up crude-by-rail volumes

** Brokerage says it is above consensus on Birchcliff Energy Ltd, Cenovus Energy and MEG Energy

** But, below consensus on Encana Corp largely due to estimated charges related to acquisition of U.S.-based Newfield Exploration Co

** In a partial reversal from Q4, realized heavy oil prices could beat expectations, related to time lag of condensate purchases, brokerage says

** NBC remains cautious on natgas through summer months and expects selling pressure into any strength, despite Alberta natgas prices outperforming at +60% Q/Q (Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru)

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