Triple-digit plunges by Northeast citygates led a second straight day of prices falling across the board Friday. The South was an exception, but warming trends were due to continue into the weekend in many other areas. The previous-day decline of 7.4 cents by March futures and the typical weekend loss of industrial demand were other bearish factors.
CenterPoint West was the only point failing to fall at least a dime or more, so it was at the low end of drops ranging from about a nickel to a little more than $2.40.
Many points are expected to rally Monday as new bouts of cold weather either will have already arrived or be on the way; cash numbers will have strong support from Friday's 25.5-cent futures rebound during the open-outcry session at Nymex (the March contract continued to rise in after-hours Globex electronic trading), and industrial load will be back in play.
For the first time in two weeks almost all Northeast citygates averaged less than $10; in fact, $10.00 at Iroquois Zone 2 was the only quadruple-digit quote reported Friday. There is a good chance of Northeast prices starting to climb again Monday, however, as a windy storm Tuesday will be followed that night by much colder air sweeping into the region, The Weather Channel (TWC) said.
The South was still fairly mild going into the weekend but was due to have temperatures fall 5-12 degrees at many locations Saturday. Columbia, SC, was an exception; its high of 52 Friday was forecast to soar into the high 60s Saturday. But not all that far away, Atlanta was due to see a five-degree loss.
The Midwest will have its next period of frigid weather start Tuesday as much colder air moves into the area behind a storm that should generate heavy amounts of snow in the region's upper sections, according to TWC.
The West could anticipate a stormy weekend that would include copious amounts of snowfall in the mountainous areas, but temperatures were due to see relatively little change either up or down Saturday.
Another transportation restriction related to the recent severe winter weather in the Midwest bit the dust Friday when ANR ended an Extreme Condition. However, MRT extended its System Protection Warning into the weekend due to a major snow and ice storm that was plaguing its primary market area around St. Louis last week.
A Northeast marketer found it kind of curious that New England was enduring a major winter storm Friday, but his company didn't see any intraday demand as a result. He reported being unable to find anybody who wanted to start trading March baseload yet but noted that traders have all of next week to get March business done. Northeast basis looks like it's "getting hammered," he said, adding that Texas Eastern M-3 basis was plus $1.12 Thursday but was down to plus $1.02 Friday. Tennessee Zone 6 basis took less of a hit, falling from plus $1.38 Thursday to plus $1.33 Friday, he said.
A producer said conditions have been relatively moderate above freezing around Calgary lately, adding that it hasn't had any returns of the extended period of deep-freeze weather that the area endured last month. He provided a usually reliable indicator of rising prices Monday, saying NOVA Inventory Transfer (NIT) numbers had surged in late deals Friday. NIT started around C$7.60, he said, but was up into the low C$7.80s in the last hour of trading.
The producer said he had sold some March gas at Dawn for basis of plus 32.5 cents and had indexed all of his NIT March deals so far.
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