Traders who hadn’t finished already wound up their July bidweekbusiness Tuesday and started looking for clues on aftermarketdirection. What they found in swing deals done for today only was amixed bag of flat to up or down slightly from bidweek levels. Butmany sources are expecting an overall strong aftermarket. There maybe some initial softness since the July Fourth holiday weekend isconsidered the lowest demand period of the year. But sources lookfor fundamental cooling load to support gas prices after that.

“With what has been happening with power [the ultra-high hourlyprices of last week] and with it looking like the heat is going tobe with us for a good long while, gas prices are looking up,” saida Midcontinent producer.

Forecasts bear him out. Although much of the West Coast and thenorthern perimeter of states will see below-normal temperaturesnext week, according to the National Weather Service, just aboutevery place else will be baking. And a private forecasting companyhad this outlook for the next few days: “The entire Southern U.S.from the desert Southwest to the Southeast should be hotter than aholiday hamburger.”

San Juan-Blanco prices really ran up, said a marketer whosefirst deal was in the $1.80 area but a subsequent package was at$1.93. It looked as if people rolled the dice, electing to be a bitshort for the beginning of the month, he said, “and it cost themtoday.” But another trader said California wasn’t warming up quiteenough to maintain the higher field prices.

Columbia-Appalachia started in the mid $2.40s and rose with theearly screen into the low to mid $2.50s, one source said, but italso followed the screen back down later. She expects TCO pricingaround $2.46-47 today.

The market should be very quiet north of the border today duringthe celebration of Canada Day, something like Independence Day inthe U.S. Then many of the gas traders in Calgary will joinAmericans in taking Friday off; the occasion is the opening-dayCalgary Stampede rodeo parade.

©Copyright 1998 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. Thepreceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, inwhole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent ofIntelligence Press,Inc.