With some support from the previous Friday's futures advance, the cash market was finding enough increases in colder weather either already in place or imminent to realize gains at a sizeable majority of locations the board Monday.
Flat quotes at several scattered points, mostly in the Midcontinent/Midwest, and declines at the Florida citygate and in Western Canada were exceptions to overall upticks of 2-3 cents to about 40 cents. The Northeast, where The Weather Channel said morning lows in the 20s and 30s could mean possible Election Day freezes in the metro areas of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC, captured by far the lion's share of increases around 15 cents or greater.
December futures had given Monday's cash market a good strong push by rising 14.8 cents on the previous Friday. But their generosity proved limited, as the contract emerged from the weekend with an early stronger showing but later succumbed to selling pressure, ending the day with a loss of 20.6 cents (see related story).
At times last week the National Hurricane Center (NHC) was monitoring as many as three Atlantic tropical systems at one time, but on Monday it only had one to watch. Tropical Storm Tomas could strengthen again, NHC said, but as of Monday it was tending to weaken in the south central Caribbean Sea. The system was moving generally westward, but was expected to eventually turn more to the north and move through the vicinities of Jamaica, western Cuba, eastern Haiti and the southern Bahamas before heading out into the open Atlantic toward Bermuda.
The Midwest, Midcontinent and Rockies are experiencing chilly conditions, but not quite as cold as those in the Northeast. Meanwhile, the South could expect was enjoying one last day of moderate to cool weather Monday before enough lower temperatures arrive to cause residents to ponder the question of whether to turn on any furnaces.
It's obvious that cooling demand is fading from the southern and south central U.S. IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) found that while Henry Hub prices rose a little more than a nickel, volumes traded there on its online platform shrank from 976,000 MMbtu Friday to 860,000 MMBtu Monday. Katy saw a similar price rise and a similar trading drop from 738,000 MMBtu to 623,600 MMBtu, ICE said, while the Houston Ship Channel, also up slightly more than a nickel, had volumes drop only from 481,400 to 411,000 MMBtu.
Most of the actions to prevent excessive linepack that pipelines had either scheduled or initiated during the week were being ended (see Transportation Notes). However, PG&E waited only a day before renewing a systemwide high-inventory OFO for Tuesday. Despite the OFO, ICE reported Malin and the PG&E citygate prices as flat to slightly higher, and citygate volumes on ICE soared from 707,900 MMBtu Friday to a whopping 1,070,300 MMBtu Monday.
Also, El Paso warned shippers of a potential Strained Operating Condition due to continuing high linepack caused by undertakes from the system during the weekend coupled with operational issues at the Washington Ranch storage facility.
Call it a tale of two delivery points, if you will. While nearly all of Kern River's upstream production-area capacity gets scheduled regularly every day, there is great contrast currently between usages of the pipeline's two delivery interconnects with SoCalGas. In Evening Cycle nominations for Monday at Kramer Junction, 376,709 Dth was scheduled from total capacity of 550,000 Dth, leaving 173,291 Dth available. But only 326,115 Dth of Wheeler Ridge's 885,000 Dth total capacity, leaving 558,885 Dth available.
Analysts say the industry will get at least one more good-sized injection in this week's storage report. One source thought it was too close to call on whether enough heating load will develop this week to cause withdrawal to start in the following report.
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