With the worst of the current cold spell receding to past tense in northern market areas and the South starting to return to more seasonal temperatures for the first half of April, most of Tuesday's market was mixed and in the vicinity of flat in many cases. Moderate gains appeared to slightly outweigh small losses.

As on Monday, Rockies points were out of step with the overall price trend. Continuing to emulate their pattern from a week earlier of big plunges on Monday followed by big rebounds on Tuesday, most Rockies quotes soared by anywhere from about 55 cents to the $1.30 area. Trading ranges were very wide in spanning several dollars, and signs of weakness still remained as sub-$3 numbers continued to be received for all area points. And Opal, which was up less than 10 cents, had a low-end quote of $2.02 that was more than $4 below its highest prices for the day.

A majority of the market ranged from about 20 cents lower to 20 cents higher, with several flat points in the mix and most price movement being limited to a dime or less.

Besides relatively light cooling load and the closure of Questar's Clay Basin storage facility to injection through April 18, western markets also had to contend with the start Tuesday of Line 225 maintenance by SoCalGas (see Transportation Notes). The work will continue through Thursday and is not only causing the loss of 780 MMcf/d of border receipt capacity at Wheeler Ridge, but also a 250 MMcf/d reduction of injection capacity at the giant LDC's Honor Ranch facility.

However, one excess supply issue in the West got some relief as Kern River, which had been reporting high linepack recently in most or all of its system, said linepack was normal systemwide Tuesday.

One sign of more normal springtime weather returning in the South was Florida Gas Transmission cautioning market-area customers that with warmer temperatures expected in Florida over the next few days and linepack being on the low side, they should be aware of the potential for an Overage Alert Day being issued. However, if one is issued, the pipeline said it sees "a low probability" for the need to interrupt previously scheduled ITS-1 service in the market area.

Wednesday's weather will be chilly in the Midwest and even winter-like in areas along the Canadian border, but little change was seen in regional citygate numbers Tuesday. High temperatures will remain stuck in the 30s Wednesday in far northern New England, but the rest of the Northeast should see more moderate highs in the 40s and 50s, according to The Weather Channel. All Northeast citygates lost a little ground, topped by a loss of a little more than 15 cents at the Algonquin citygate.

A Gulf Coast producer said Tuesday's trading was "pretty boring" with everything being so close to flat. But he added that it's not that easy to just say, "Let's trade at yesterday's price." You've got to make some effort to try to move the market a little, he said.

The producer said some people in the Midwest buying his company's gas because it's still cold there, but he was still not seeing any appreciable amount of cooling load from the warming trend in the South.

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