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Bidweek Quotes Mostly Flat; Late March Mixed

Bidweek Quotes Mostly Flat; Late March Mixed

Most sources were seeing bidweek prices running approximately flat Monday compared to the previous Friday, although a marketer said some Southwest numbers were "up about a penny." On the other hand, a buyer who paid in the low $1.70s in the NGPL Midcontinent pool Friday said he was hearing of $1.69 deals Monday.

San Juan-Blanco quotes for April were in the $1.57-59 range but tending to back off slightly after hitting $1.59, one trader said. Similarly, another trader saw Chicago citygates retreating to $1.87-88 after peaking at $1.89.

South Texas basis for Texas Eastern and Tennessee is tighter than usual at minus 7.25, a trader said. She indicated basis of minus 9-10 was more appropriate for that market at this time of year.

For a Rocky Mountain region utility buyer, it was the same story as last bidweek: no matter how low sellers were willing to go on their price offers, he had absolutely nowhere to take the gas. "We'll be living off storage for at least another month," he said.

While a Calgary trader was calling this "one of the quietest bidweeks I can remember in some time," a California source commented, "It was very hectic today [Monday]. It seemed that all the marketers waited to do business until the last minute."

The late March swing market turned in a mixed performance Monday, with small price declines of a couple of cents or so in the East arrayed against small increases in the West. A marketer said he saw a small but significant "kick up in gas burns for electric generation on the West Coast." The Palo Verde and San Onofre nuclear plants both had units going down for refueling, he noted, saying power prices were sharply on the rise. Arizona Public Service shut its 1,221 MW Palo Verde 2 nuclear unit for refueling Friday, and Southern California Edison shut down the 1,047 MW San Onofre 3 unit for refueling and maintenance on Saturday. San Onofre is expected to be down for 55 days.

Despite the East's general swing softening, a marketer reported Henry Hub starting slightly lower at $1.81-82 but then gradually trending higher to converge with April business. Late deals for both months were done at $1.865, she said.

A Rockies trader said incremental prices were inching up late in the morning, mostly in sympathy with a slightly stronger screen that waited until afternoon to settle down just 0.2 cents.

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