Cash numbers continued to defy seasonable to cool weather in many regions for the most part as flat to slightly higher prices remained the norm for a second day Wednesday. The previous day's loss of 8.7 cents by October futures also had limited impact in dampening the market.
Flat to about a nickel higher quotes were recorded at a modest majority of points. The Northeast joined the Midcontinent and California in seeing most of the small losses ranging from a couple of pennies to nearly a dime, although Rockies prices tended to be slightly firmer than a day before.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued its final advisory on Hermine, which it was no longer tracking. It continued to monitor Wednesday the remnants of Gaston southeast of the Dominican Republic but gave them near-zero odds of redevelopment, and a low-pressure area just south of the Cape Verde Islands that had a much greater chance (70%) of becoming a tropical cyclone within the following 48 hours, NHC said.
Tennessee said Wednesday it had completed an assessment of assets in the area impacted by Hermine. "No significant damage was found during the assessment and operations are continuing as normal." There almost undoubtedly will be a few more heat episodes before summertime weather finally makes its seasonal fade. But for now, there is little major cooling load to be found, especially in most of the West and the U.S. midsection, where heavy rains from the remnants of Hermine have significantly cooled off Texas and the lower Midcontinent and are now taking aim at the Midwest.
A high-inventory OFO by PG&E (see Transportation Notes) contributed to softness at Malin and the PG&E citygate, where quotes dropped by about 2 and 8 cents, respectively, according to IntercontinentalExchange (ICE). However, citygate volumes traded on the ICE platform actually rose from 560,600 MMBtu in 70 transactions Tuesday to 579,300 MMBtu in 80 deals Wednesday. But Malin numbers sank from 437,000 MMBtu to 367,100 MMBtu over the same two trading periods, ICE said.
Bentek Energy's U.S. Natural Gas Hub Flows chart found throughput increasing at a sizeable majority of the 23 points it covers, despite the overall light weather-based demand. Percentage flow gains from Tuesday to Wednesday were largest at Waha, up 39% by 54,000 MMBtu, and NGPL-TexOk, up 17% by 105,000 MMBtu, Bentek said.
A Midwest utility buyer reported "very nice" conditions in his service area. Of course, that meant hardly any power generation load for the company as residents are starting to leave their windows open at night, he said. The area 10-day forecast indicates little increase in returning heat until after at least mid-September, he added.
While current conditions tend to lower utility sales noticeably, it's good to have slow periods like these sometimes, the buyer said. Several fellow staffers were taking advantage, being out of the office on vacation while things are quiet, he said.
Meanwhile, a utility buyer in the South said it was warm and humid locally with highs in the 90 area, "but certainly not a heat wave." Generally he perceived "seasonal" temperatures and demand, but thought demand might be lower than it otherwise would be due to the weak economy. He expects a warm-up of a few degrees later this week.
The buyer said his company continued to experience nomination cuts on Panhandle Eastern, but its storage accounts are close to 95% full, and with nearly two full months left in the injection season it shouldn't have any problem topping them off. Luckily the utility got a head start on refills back in the spring, he added.
The buyer said he was kind of surprised that the cash market hasn't been considerably softer recently; he thought volumes of shale gas production continuing to rise would have more of a weakening effect.
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