Cold fronts were either already squelching or about to squelch much of the cooling load that had developed in the East, while the West was a mix of summer-like conditions to the south and unusual chill to the north. Cash prices responded by falling at nearly every point Friday, with only a few scattered instances of flat quotes preventing an across the board sweep of softness.

The majority of losses ranged from about a nickel to 65 cents. The Rockies were way out in front of the downhill run despite being situated between the nation's extremes of heat and cold.

The cash market had neutral guidance from Thursday's 0.6-cent rise in June futures but will get substantial support Monday after the contract went up 17.3 cents Friday in what was attributed to technical considerations and fund buying (see futures story).

Warming temperatures in Florida prompted Florida Gas Transmission to issue a caution about a potential Overage Alert Day (OAD) (see Transportation Notes). The warning came in spite of a 23% increase of flows into the FGT market area Friday, according to analysis of hub flows by Bentek Energy (http://intelligencepress.com/features/bentek/).

A Florida utility buyer didn't perceive enough demand increase in his state to justify an OAD, saying it was getting a little warmer "but not much." Only some unexpected extra heat-related demand should be able to activate the OAD, he said. Based on Friday's screen strength, he thinks cash prices should "probably be up a good 20 cents Monday."

A Texas-based marketer also expected futures-based cash price firmness Monday but was more conservative than the utility buyer in seeing only "a little rally." Friday's trading was pretty uneventful, he said, as prices tracked down slowly but steadily. The marketer looks for overall small gains this week.

A utility buyer in the Lower Midwest reported that her area had gotten warmer and thus was experiencing "good" power generation load. Not only were air conditioners running, but the electricity producers also had some wet coal issues from heavy local rains in the past week, and some other units were down for maintenance, so gas-fired peakers were active. It helped to have lower gas prices for the weekend, she said, but the company would have to enjoy heightened throughput while it can because temperatures will cool off again in the coming week.

NOVA Inventory Transfer basis from Henry Hub and June futures got a little wider Friday, a Calgary-based producer said, due to a combination of the screen going up while NIT numbers were flat and the Canadian dollar weakening against the U.S. dollar. Intra-Alberta storage inventories are rising, while NOVA linepack is about normal ("a little higher but not bad"), he said.

Westcoast had some problems last week with the Pine River Gas Plant and also a fire at the McMahon plant, the producer said. An annual turnaround is scheduled to start at Pine River this week, he added, which he estimated would take about 330 MMcf/d off the British Columbia market for about a month.

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