Screen, Cool Weather Generate Mild Swing Firmness
The mini-rallies reported at several points in Wednesday's late
cash trading apparently carried over into Thursday, resulting in a
flat to slightly higher March swing market. A strong showing by
Henry Hub futures on Nymex helped give cash a boost, sources said.
In addition, there was enough chillier weather in the midwestern
and northeastern market areas to have an impact on heating load.
The Wednesday afternoon storage report had no effect on prices
because "everybody knows there is too much [gas in storage]
anyway," according to a marketer.
A producer perceived April basis as "about a quarter-cent
stronger" Thursday compared to the day before. Another producer
said it seemed that buyers of April gas didn't expect the futures
run-up, so they tried to hold out, "but sellers did too." Trading
was kind of a standoff most of the day, he said, but some buyers
were emerging to make deals in the afternoon.
A marketer quoted April prices for Panhandle Eastern,
ANR-Southwest and NGPL-Midcontinent all in the $1.72-74 range.
General Midcontinent basis is minus 8-8.75, he said, with ANR the
strongest at minus 8. He pegged Chicago basis at plus 4.25-4.5.
One trader was hearing El Paso-Permian at $1.64 in the morning,
but said the numbers had jumped up to $1.77-775 after lunch. Other
sources also reported a slight firming trend in the light amount of
fixed-price business being done.
A marketer said Chicago citygates for April started the day in
the low $1.80s but he heard a $1.87 deal was done later. "Somebody
out there must know something we don't," he added.
Saying his company remains somewhat bearish about the remainder
of bidweek, a Midcontinent source admitted, "I think the psychology
is starting to shift. Nobody is hoping for higher prices because of
winter, they're hoping for higher prices because we're going to
start injecting in May and June." He said he had heard quite a bit
of talk about a "long, hot, dry summer for the Southwest. That
means people there are already looking to own gas for electric
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