Even with high-temperature records being set from New York City through the Washington, DC, area Friday, forecasts of continuing hot weather no longer seemed to matter in the gas market. Instead, steep plunges at some Northeast citygates led an overall price downturn that seemed to be responding more to recent futures weakness, high storage inventories and the usual weekend loss of industrial load.

A few flat to about 2 pennies higher points were exceptions to overall weekend losses ranging from about a nickel to a little more than $7. Even with highs around 100 and the mid 90s expected Saturday in New York City and Boston, respectively, big plunges at Northeast citygates were way out in front of the general descent.

August futures broke out of their recent downward trend Friday — but just barely — by rising a scant 0.4 cent (see related story), which was essentially neutral guidance for Monday’s cash market.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) had downgraded Bret to post-tropical storm status Friday, while Tropical Storm Cindy continued to churn far to the east of Canada’s Maritimes provinces. NHC also was monitoring Friday afternoon a tropical wave about 325 miles east of the Lesser Antilles island chain between Puerto Rico and South America and had upgraded its development chances to 20% from 10% Thursday afternoon.

New York state’s peak electricity usage reached 33,454 MW between 4 and 5 p.m. EDT Thursday, the third highest volume on record, according to the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO). The all-time record was 485 MW higher on Aug, 2, 2006, NYISO said.

Friday’s softer prices occurred despite a heat wave continuing to bake most of the U.S. with highs in the 90s and 100s from the Rockies eastward to the Atlantic coast. Eastern Canada was cooling off a bit, according to Weather Central, but would remain quite warm with highs in the mid to upper 80s.

Florida Gas Transmission continued to warn market-area customers of a potential Overage Alert Day due to highs in the mid 90s in the Florida forecast. Nevertheless, production-area prices into the pipeline fell from about a dime to 15 cents or so.

Tennessee relaxed some — but not all — of its transport constraints (see Transportation Notes). A Tennessee Zone 6 drop of nearly $2.30 was among Friday’s biggest losses.

A Midcontinent producer noted that with Oklahoma temperatures still reaching about 100 degrees or more, intrastate pipes OGT and Enogex were commanding prices several cents above those on neighboring interstate lines such as Panhandle Eastern, and there is no available capacity remaining on the intrastates. Gas that normally would go into Panhandle is being put into the intrastate market instead because of the state’s heavy power generation load.

The producer said he sees the late-week price softness as primarily a function of continuing oversupply.

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