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Electric Load Helps Generate Higher Gas Prices

Electric Load Helps Generate Higher Gas Prices

Cash prices continued on an upward track Thursday, although the gains were a bit smaller than those posted Wednesday. A few increases barely exceeded a nickel, such as at Waha and the Houston Ship Channel, where Texas air conditioning load is growing. Northeast citygates tended to go up about a nickel as a source reported storage demand rising there now that the injection season is under way. Most other points rose between 2 and 4 cents. It's the same old story about why the market has been fairly strong this week, a trader said-power generation load, a firm screen and western cold.

Florida was under another "power alert" Thursday following an explosion that killed one worker and injured 45 and shut down a TECO Energy coal-fired power plant (1,270 MW) near Tampa. The alert resulted from TECO "issuing public appeals for conservation due to the explosion at the Gannon Plant," according to the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council. The state's first such alert of the year occurred Tuesday during hot weather while several power plants were down for spring maintenance.

Florida's electric generation load again boosted prices into Florida Gas Transmission, said a marketer quoting Zone 2 deals at $2.07-08. He thinks the Florida market will remain strong for some time, especially as state officials and utilities are concerned that the TECO plant may not be back in service by the summer. Actually, all Gulf Coast pipes serving the hot and muggy South are currently pretty strong in both pricing and gas volumes, the marketer and other sources noted. Sonat, Henry Hub and Transco Station 65 numbers were also in the mid- to high- $2.00s Thursday.

"I've got one word for you about this market: strong," said a producer reporting South Texas sales over $2. "It's actually even stronger than we expected coming into the month. April was certainly a good month to enter long on supply." He reported getting many calls each trading day asking for gas since April 1.

There was a lot of demand in San Juan Basin and the California border due to the West Coast remaining unseasonably cool, a marketer said.

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