Marginal increases in temperature forecasts in several regions kept prices rising at nearly all points Tuesday. Otherwise, fundamentals such as slight prior-day futures weakness and the lack of any Atlantic tropical activity argued against any continued market firmness.
Several flat to a nickel lower points, primarily in the Rockies, were the exceptions to overall upticks ranging from 2-3 cents to about 20 cents. Nearly all of the gains were in single digits and were capped at a little more than a dime.
The Florida citygate, where Florida Gas Transmission extended an Overage Alert Day for market-area customers, again realized the top increase and handily surpassed Northeast delivery numbers.
The cash market will have a bit more negative guidance Wednesday from Nymex after the prompt-month gas futures contract fell another 3.4 cents (see related story).
After rising 14 cents Monday despite a PG&E high-inventory OFO, the PG&E citygate apparently acknowledged the OFO continuance (see Transportation Notes) by recording one of Tuesday's few losses of about a nickel.
After briefly reaching the low end of its normal linepack target range Monday, Kern River reported that linepack was low again Tuesday.
Highs in the low to mid 90s will be common Wednesday from the Southeast through the lower Midcontinent and still reaching the 110 area in some parts of the Southwest. That's where most of the power generation demand for Wednesday came from in firming Tuesday prices. However, peak temperatures in the lower Northeast and Midwest will begin approaching the 90 area again, and that was likely to get at least a few gas-fired peaking generation units revved up.
Rockies highs will still be pretty warm, but once again the West will stay fairly mild outside the desert Southwest.
A Lower Midwest utility source said rain had been keeping heat moderate in the low to mid 80s lately, but plenty of humidity kept gas demand relatively strong.
Southern Natural Gas said as of last Thursday its total working storage capacity of 60 Bcf was a little more than two-thirds full at 41.2 Bcf, or 69%. That was well behind last year's refill pace when inventories hit 53.6 Bcf (89%) on July 9, 2009, but slightly ahead of the July 10, 2008 volume of 39.9 Bcf (66%).
The National Weather Service expects a broad swath of above-normal temperatures in the central U.S. during the July 19-23 workweek, extending between lines from southeastern California to eastern North Dakota on the west side and from South Texas through the western Mid-Atlantic before curving back to the northwest through western Pennsylvania on the east side. Virtually all of the Pacific Northwest, along with the northern end of California, northwest Nevada and western Montana, is predicted to enjoy below-normal readings.
Stephen Smith of Stephen Smith Energy Associates projected a 90 Bcf storage build being reported for the week ending July 9, considerably higher than his original estimate of 78 Bcf. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Cameron Horwitz looks for a significantly lower addition of 80 Bcf.
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