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Cash 'Muddles Around' in Flat Performance

Cash 'Muddles Around' in Flat Performance

The cash swing market kind of "muddled around" Tuesday, unimpressed by a small screen uptick or anything else for that matter, according to a Midcontinent trader. Nearly all points were flat to barely a penny or two lower. The big drop of a nickel or so at Sumas likely was due to a three-day outage of Jackson Prairie storage operations starting today, causing Northwest to get strict about banking gas on the system, one source said.

Except for supply constraints in San Juan Basin, fundamentals remain a no-show in the market, a Southwest marketer said. The bulk of El Paso's Blanco Plant maintenance outage ended last Thursday, he said, but some continues to restrict gas this week. And the unplanned outage of Transwestern's Bisti Station is making about another 150 MMcf/d unavailable, the marketer estimated.

Canadian traders returned from holiday Tuesday to find swing intra-Alberta prices running in the C$2.70 area, about C3 cents above where they left the market Friday. One Calgary source was trading intra-Alberta baseload for June at C$2.67-68 but said she expects many deals for provincial gas to be done swing since May 31-June 9 inspections of NOVA receipt points will take an estimated 1 Bcf/d off the market for the first week of June.

Fixed-price quotes for June remained scarce Tuesday, but sources did report deals at $1.94-96 for San Juan-Blanco, $2.17-19 for the Southern California border and $2.04 for Malin. Those numbers, only 4-8 cents below May indexes, belied projections late last week that going by basis talk, June indexes would be falling by a dime or more. However, whether bidweek trading will move from up or down from these early quotes "will depend entirely on where the screen goes," a marketer commented.

The Midcontinent is looking pretty soft for June with lots of supply being offered, a buyer said. All the June deals he did or was hearing of were at index or below. NGPL-Midcontinent has traded at index minus 0.75, Panhandle Eastern at index minus 0.5, ANR-Southwest at index flat to minus 0.25, and Northern Natural-demarc and Ventura at index flat, he said. But Chicago citygates are commanding a small premium to index, the buyer added.

For no reason that he could detect, a marketer saw three successive Chicago basis purchases Tuesday rise steadily from plus 4.75 to plus 5 to plus 5.25. Another source quoted basis deals at plus 21 for Texas Eastern M-3, plus 15.25 for CNG South Point, minus 5 for Texas Eastern-East Louisiana and minus 6.25 for Tennessee 800 Leg.

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