Western Increases Contrast With Eastern Flatness
While eastern markets meandered around in a generally flat
performance Monday, the West was achieving significant gains of
about a nickel or more. Topping the list was San Juan Basin, where
supply outages helped drive quotes up by about 15 cents. Prices in
the Rockies, Pacific Northwest and western Canada also were strong
due to cold weather. It snowed in Calgary Monday morning, one
source said, adding this is late in the season for snow but not a
record for Calgary.
A marketer estimated as much as 600 MMcf/d from San Juan is
being held off the market as a heavy maintenance month continues in
the basin. A producer agreed with that assessment and said he
expects San Juan pricing to remain strong through the end of May
because of the plant and compressor station outages. But it's a
double-edged sword for producers, he went on. It's nice to have
higher prices for your gas, "but if as much as 75% of it is being
curtailed, that doesn't do you any good at all." Even in
low-maintenance periods the basin has flow problems at times, he
Meanwhile, the Gulf Coast was unable to take advantage of its
usual post-weekend price recovery, even with mild encouragement
from the Henry Hub futures contract for June, a marketer in the
region said. Only a few pipes were able to manage gains as small as
a penny, he said.
A Houston-based producer said market activity was considerably
lighter than usual because many traders were attending the
GasMart/Power '99 trade fair in Dallas. And to compound that
situation, a severe thunderstorm knocked out power across much of
the western half of Houston early in the morning.
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