Kern River and CIG were left out of lower prices that pervaded the rest of the April-ending cash market Friday. Weak weather fundamentals, the 18.1-cent expiration-day fall by May futures and the hiatus of industrial load over a weekend caused all other points to record declines ranging from 2-3 cents to about 45 cents.
The Rockies, which had seen the steepest dives in the previous couple of days, had their slide leveling off to a degree with most of Friday's smallest dips. On the other hand, the Midcontinent, Chicago citygate and non-Rockies points in the West tended to see the largest losses.
Close to seasonal temperatures would be in effect for the weekend in most regions, which in late April meant little demand for gas either for heating or cooling.
Suppliers to the California market got hit by the old one-two as both of the state's biggest distributors, SoCalGas and PG&E, issued high-linepack OFOs for Saturday (see Transportation Notes). The price impact was greater at the Southern California border, where quotes fell nearly 35 cents, while the PG&E citygate was down only about 15 cents.
Weekend highs across much of the West would be five to 25 degrees above average, said The Weather Channel, adding that this meant 90s and low 100s in the desert Southwest and potential date-specific record highs in some cities. Despite the apparent heavy air conditioning demand that would result, El Paso's two San Juan Basin pools failed to benefit, falling nearly 35 cents each.
The continuation of an Overage Alert Day through at least Friday by Florida Gas Transmission, which had buoyed Zone 3 and citygate prices to some extent in the face of Thursday's overall softness, failed to keep the two points from falling about a nickel and 15 cents respectively Friday.
With June futures making their prompt-month debut with a 22.9-cent gain, a Texas-based marketer thought that, along with rising temperatures predicted in the South early this week, will be able to rally cash in Monday's launch of the May aftermarket.
Close to all bidweek trading had been completed by the end of Friday, leaving only loose ends and unexpected needs to be resolved Monday. The marketer said his company finished May baseload trading Thursday, but if anybody was still doing bidweek deals Friday, they probably were seeing higher prices because of the screen advance. He pegged minus 26-27 cents as the most common basis for Chicago in May. He thought the Chicago index will be up 30 cents from April, but said indexes would probably closer to flat elsewhere.
A western utility buyer said her company bought "only a little" gas at index during bidweek, adding that May is very much a shoulder month for its service territory. Noting the double whammy of California OFOs, she commented that the state must be awash in gas. Local weather was "very nice" Friday and should stay that way through the weekend, she said. Right now it's a "'tweener" period, she added, with neither heating load nor cooling load for gas.
A Northeast utility buyer said the situation was similar for his company, with regional May weather being usually fairly benign. "Our storage injections are on target," he said, so he bought a small amount of May baseload gas mainly for storage purposes.
The tally of drilling rigs actively searching for gas in the U.S., which had been rising recently, took a big step backward last week. Baker Hughes said it counted 1,460 gas-seeking rigs working during the week ending April 27, a decline of 13 from a week earlier (http://intelligencepress.com/features/bakerhughes/). that was 1% less than a month ago but up 8% from the previous year, Baker Hughes said. The drop included three rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
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