For a market lacking weather-based load for the most part, no significant tropical storm activity, a prior-day futures loss of 10.4 cents and another big addition to already-abundant storage inventories anticipated, it seems that softness would be paramount. But prices still mostly saw small increases anyway.
A large majority of locations were flat to about 15 cents higher, with nearly all advances limited to less than a nickel. A few points, mostly in the Northeast, saw losses ranging from a couple of pennies to about a nickel.
It was dubious whether the November futures contract's reversal of a three-day tailspin in rallying by 8.2 cents (see related story) could keep the cash market firm Wednesday.
The overall weather picture remained benign for the gas market. Southern highs from the mid 70s to low 80s forecasted for Wednesday were unlikely to get a lot of air conditioning units getting fired up again, and cool to moderately chilly continued to dominate the rest of the outlook.
A large low-pressure system over the northwestern Caribbean Sea midway between Honduras and the Cayman Islands became "a little better organized" Tuesday, said the National Hurricane Center, which gave the system 70% odds of becoming a tropical cyclone during the succeeding 48 hours as it moved toward the north-northwest at five to 10 mph. That course could eventually take it between Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and the western end of Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico.
Both SoCalGas and PG&E ended Sunday high-linepack OFOs that had been in effect Saturday. The SoCalGas and PG&E citygates were up a couple of pennies and nearly a nickel Tuesday, IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) said, but volumes at each point on its trading platform shrank from 552,800 MMBtu Monday to 438,900 MMBtu Tuesday and from 914,400 MMBtu to 839,400 MMBtu, respectively.
It's "cool and crisp" but not terribly cold, said a marketer in the Upper Midwest. However, going into next week she suspects that her company may be getting a little more space heating demand from clients.
The marketer said she is "having to dump some supply" for a grain dryer client because the corn crop has been so much drier than usual. She said her company is trying to talk them out of previous fixed-price contracts entered before it became apparent how much a Midwest drought would affect crops.
MichCon usually limits storage injections through September and October, she said, but it's unusual that the utility is now extending them through November.
Canaccord Genuity's Cameron Horwitz looks for a storage injection of 88 Bcf to be reported for the week ending Oct. 15; the slightly lower week-on-week add is largely attributable to an increase of about 2 Bcf in gas-fired power demand partly offset by lower sequential space heating load (heating degree days slid about 35%), Horwitz said.
Stephen Smith of Stephen Smith Energy Associates said his latest projection of an 84 Bcf addition to storage is down from an earlier estimate of 87 Bcf. Strategic Energy & Economic Research analyst Ron Denhardt looks for a slightly lower build of 82 Bcf.
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