Prices saw double-digit declines across the board Monday as temperatures that are fairly moderate for mid-August dominate the near-term weather outlook for many areas. Friday’s 26-cent futures decline also contributed to cash bearishness.
Many of the drops were large at around half a dollar or more. Overall quotes fell from 15 cents to about 75 cents. Gulf Coast points tended to record most of the largest declines, while Northeast citygates, where daily highs have returned to the mid 80s following an unusually cool period last week, dropped the least in most cases. That had the effect of significantly widening Gulf Coast/market area transportation spreads.
Florida Gas Zone 2 took the day’s biggest dive after the pipeline ended a two-day Overage Alert Day Saturday.
Henry Hub, which had been priced at a significant premium to the screen in the two previous trading days, was back in close synch with Nymex Monday when September futures settled down 35.6 cents at $6.913, while the Hub averaged just shy of $6.90.
What The Weather Channel called “beautiful midsummer weather” will dominate the weather picture Tuesday in the Great Lakes, Upper Midwest and northern Plains. Meanwhile, power generation load in the South should sag a bit, especially in the eastern end, as a weak cold front enters the region. The West will tend to see generally mild temperatures except for highs in the 100s in the desert Southwest and peaks in the 80s and 90s in the the Great Basin.
A marketer described it as a quiet market day, which he said is often typical of mid-month trading. Temperatures have returned to seasonal in the Northeast market area, he added. Monday’s screen drop will probably induce some softness in cash prices again Tuesday, the marketer said, but he thinks physical quotes will stay fairly close to Monday’s levels. That is, the cash market shouldn’t see the mostly big drops again like it did Monday, he said.
Another marketer agreed that not much was happening Monday, saying the market doesn’t have a whole lot to get excited about currently. He looks for more softness Tuesday than the first marketer, citing weather fundamentals that will remain rather weak for the foreseeable future and the screen following up Thursday and Friday’s dips with an even bigger one Monday. The pipelines are behaving themselves, he said.
The West was dealing with some excess supply issues, as Kern River reported that due to shippers banking gas on its system during the weekend, linepack was posted as high in all but the farthest upstream of its four segments. That almost certainly was related to the Opal Plant, which provides the bulk of Kern River supply, having returned to and even slightly exceeded throughput levels prior to last week’s outage. In its analysis of flows at 14 trading points (https://intelligencepress.com/features/bentek/), Bentek Energy found that Opal volumes nominated for Monday were 1,202,000 MMBtu/d. Flows on Aug. 7, prior to the scheduled one-day outage that lasted longer than expected, tallied 1,996,000 MMBtu/d (see Daily GPI, Aug. 9).
Southern Natural Gas was another pipe having to deal with excess linepack issues, reporting Monday that shippers had accumulated an estimated net long imbalance of more than 430,000 dekatherms from Aug. 1 through 12. About 175,000 dekatherms of the imbalance was incurred last Thursday through Saturday, Southern said (see Transportation Notes).
Analyst Tim Evans of Citigroup predicts that a net storage injection of 20-30 Bcf will be reported for the week ending Aug. 11.
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