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Prices Tack On a Little Extra to Weekend Gains

Prices Tack On a Little Extra to Weekend Gains

The cash market began the week by posting small advances Monday on top of what was considered abnormally strong Friday pricing for a lower-demand weekend. The new increases were small, though, rarely getting above 4 cents, and some points registered as flat.

Once again there's "no weather anywhere," said a Mid-Atlantic trader who figured he could discount temperatures as a market factor after not having to run his air conditioner all weekend. Other sources agreed that except for a bit of chill in the Rockies and Pacific Northwest, weather continues to have little to no influence on the gas market. A mild screen uptick provided about the only cue cash could follow, one trader said.

Midcontinent trading seemed to start later than usual, said a marketer who didn't see much action before 9 a.m. But once things got going, the trend was mostly higher as cash followed Nymex up, he said. Most Midcontinent pipes began around $2.16-17 and rose by 2-3 cents as the session wore on, topped by ONG finishing at $2.20-21, the marketer said. He expects the Wednesday AGA storage report to hold last week's course in the vicinity of 70 Bcf in injections.

Contrary to the Midcontinent marketer's experience, a Calgary trader said late prices were off by a nickel or more from earlier deals at Sumas and Westcoast Station 2. Sumas gas traded early on in the low $2.00s due to a fair amount of power generation buying, he said, and PG&E Gas Transmission-Northwest's continuing constraint upstream of Stanfield was still lending support to Sumas, Stanfield and Malin prices. However, his last Sumas purchase was down to $1.98, about even with Friday's level.

Perhaps it was just due to getting settled into the routine again after trading for a week altered somewhat by NGI's GasMart/Power '99 trade fair, but sources started to use the terms "quiet" and "boring" again in describing Monday's activity. A marketer said he got the impression that a lot of people expected softness Monday after weekend prices had displayed unusual strength and that they were surprised by the moderate firming instead.

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