A few citygates in the Northeast, which was still feeling the effects of a "Nor'easter" storm that battered much of the East Coast over the weekend, managed to range from flat to up 20 cents Monday. They were in a distinct minority, though. Other cash points continued to move lower due to dwindling heating load and the residual impact of Friday's 12.3-cent decline by May futures.
The majority of losses ranged from a little less than a nickel to half a dollar. Although they weren't seeing the big plunges with which they began the previous two trading weeks, Rockies quotes tended to see many of Monday's larger declines.
Supply problems were receding in the West. Kern River said linepack had returned to normal systemwide and this allowed it to increase capacity at the Veyo Compressor Station to 2,075,000 Dth/d for the gas days of Sunday and Monday after cutting it to 1,950,000 Dth/d last Thursday (see Daily GPI, April 13). And Westcoast returned to its normal imbalance tolerance range after having to adjust it last week to discourage drafting and encourage packing of its system. Southern California Gas waited until early Saturday to send out a high-linepack OFO notice and kept the order in place through Sunday, but did not renew it for Monday or Tuesday.
Following an unusually cold week that is expected to produce a net withdrawal -- possibly a sizeable one -- in the Energy Information Administration's report Thursday, much of the nation is now seeing temperatures that are seasonable for mid-April.
However, thanks to the departing storm, conditions in the Northeast are more common to those in March than April, The Weather Channel said. Snow showers remain in the forecast for Tuesday for upper New England.
Gas could be on the verge of seeing extra power generation demand to meet growing use of air conditioners as highs in the 80s are predicted for Tuesday from parts of the Southeast through the desert Southwest.
However, any potential cash rally was made much more difficult by the May futures contract's giving up 27.1 cents Monday.
"It's warming up finally," said a utility buyer in the lower Midwest who added that the last two weeks of March had been pretty nice, but then April came and it was almost like winter again.
It was good to see prices coming down, which is what could be expected when moderate weather returned, of course, the buyer said. Her company has been "hitting" its storage pretty hard in an attempt to empty most if not all of its account. The utility is buying little new gas recently; it must wait until summer to start refilling storage because that's the way Northern Natural Gas requires it, she said.
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