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NatGas Cash Gains Easily Outdistance Tranquil Futures; September Retreats 2 Cents

Physical natural gas for Tuesday delivery bounded higher Monday, led by jumps of as much $1 or more at some eastern locations. Most losses were confined to California, but Rockies quotes also failed for the most part to ride the groundswell higher.

The NGI National Spot Gas Average vaulted 9 cents to $2.74 as higher forecasts for energy demand popped up all across the East and Mid-Atlantic.

Futures made an attempt to reach $3, but were ultimately unsuccessful as forecasts called for moderate cooling. At the close September had shed 2.4 cents to $2.959 and October lost 2.0 cents to $2.989. September crude oil tumbled $1.23 to $47.59/bbl.

Forecasts of higher energy demand kept strong bids under eastern gas markets. ISO New England forecast that Monday's peak load of 18,900 MW would reach 19,490 MW Tuesday before climbing to 20,660 MW Wednesday. The New York ISO expected Monday's peak of 23,713 MW would rise to 24,647 MW Tuesday and increase to 25,323 MW Wednesday. The PJM Interconnection predicted Monday's peak load of 41,286 MW would make it to 43,662 MW Tuesday and 47,654 MW by Wednesday.

Gas at the Algonquin Citygate jumped 44 cents to $2.52, while deliveries to New York City on Transco Zone 6 soared $1.11 to $2.82. Gas on Tetco M-3 Delivery added 22 cents to $1.85 and parcels priced at Dominion South rose 19 cents to $1.80.

Gas at the Chicago Citygate was flat at $2.88 and packages at the Henry Hub gained a nickel to $2.96. Gas on El Paso Permian rose 3 cents to $2.64, and gas priced on Panhandle Eastern was quoted 7 cents higher at $2.63.

Kern River came in at $2.65, up 3 cents and Kern Delivery changed hands 4 cents higher at $2.78. PG&E Citygate fell 1 cent to $3.29 and SoCal Citygate shed 6 cents to $2.99.

Temperatures were seen rising above seasonal norms by midweek. Forecaster Wunderground said Boston's high Monday of 77 degrees would rise to 78 Tuesday and jump to 84 Wednesday, 4 degrees above normal. Philadelphia's 84 high on Monday was expected to ease to 83 by Tuesday before rising to 89 Wednesday, 3 degrees above normal.

Forecasters are looking for modest cooling going forward. WSI Corp. in its recent 11- to 15-day forecast said the period "is a touch cooler than Friday's forecast across parts of the East and warmer over the interior West and Plains.” Continental United States population-weighted cooling degree days “are down 0.5 for Days 11-12 and are forecast to be 51.1 for the period. These are 5.1 above average."

WSI added that forecast confidence is below average standards due in part to uncertainty from tropical cyclone activity over the Atlantic Basin. The potential tracks and scenarios with tropical activity offer multiple risks to the forecast. The northern and western United States have some warmer potential.

At 5 p.m. EDT Monday the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported potentially load-killing Tropical Storm Gert was located 455 miles west southwest of Bermuda and was sporting maximum sustained winds of 70 mph.

NHC also said it was following an area of low pressure several hundred miles west southwest of the Cabo Islands. It rated the chance of the system becoming a tropical storm at 60% in the next 5 days.

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