April 30 (Reuters) - Pipeline operator ONEOK reported a fall in first-quarter profit on Tuesday as it booked higher operating costs and capital expenditures.

The company reported net income of $639 million, or $1.09 per share, for the three months ended March 31, compared with $1.05 billion, or $2.34 per share, last year.

Analysts had expected net income of $1.15 per share.

ONEOK also raised its 2024 net income forecast to a range of $2.73 billion to $3.03 billion, compared with the previously announced range of $2.61 billion to $3.01 billion, banking on upcoming demand for natural gas.

While natural gas prices fell from last year's peak, down about 20.4% during the quarter compared to the corresponding period in 2023, ONEOK reported an uptick in its natural gas gathering and pipeline segments, with capacity contacted rising to 97% from 96%.

ONEOK was "supported by higher year-over-year volumes in the Rocky Mountain region and contributions from the refined products and crude segment," CEO Pierce Norton said.

The company's natural gas liquids segment saw the steepest fall in adjusted EBITDA, falling to $588 million from $1.28 billion last year, with throughput down 1.2%.

The decrease was largely related to an insurance settlement gain of $779 million in the first quarter of 2023 from the Medford incident, along with higher operating costs.

Its refiner products and crude segment shipped 1,411 mbbl per day. The company moved into transporting refined products and oil last year following its acquisition of rival Magellan Midstream in an $18.8 billion deal.

Revenue came in at $4.78 billion, higher than the $4.52 billion reported in the same quarter last year.

"Rockies volumes were up about 12% year over year, and earn fees about three to four times higher than Midcontinent and Gulf Coast/Permian barrels," Morningstar analyst Stephen Ellis said.

"We expect to increase our fair value estimate to $73 from $70 per share, as we incorporate slightly higher volumes into our model." (Reporting by Seher Dareen and Roshia Sabu in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)