After strong gains over the previous two days based on a widespread cold spell, prices began retreating at nearly all points Friday as forecasts indicated a return to more seasonal temperatures in most areas. The normal weekend drop of industrial load was another bearish influence, while the prior-day uptick of 2 cents by December futures had no appreciable impact on the physical market.
A 15-cent gain by the Florida citygate that flew in the face of cool market-area temperatures and a Thursday warning by Florida Gas Transmission of a potential Underage Alert Day, along with flat quotes at Transco Zone 5, Niagara and Texas Eastern-West Louisiana, were left out of declines ranging from a couple of pennies to about a quarter in the rest of the market. The Midcontinent and Rockies, which had seen most of the largest gains Thursday, led the way downhill Friday with most of the largest losses.
December futures will have positive guidance for Monday's cash market after rising another 8.1 cents Friday (see related story), but it's unlikely to be strong enough to offset bearish weather influences.
Tomas had rejuvenated into a hurricane Friday and was venting its wrath on Haiti, but remained a nonevent for Gulf of Mexico production.
Despite an upper-atmosphere trough keeping the Eastern Seaboard pretty chilly into the weekend, the overall temperature trend in the rest of the nation was mostly upward. The result was seasonal and generally pleasant cool outlooks. However, freezing lows remained in some parts of the Canadian forecast.
Although the PG&E citygate fell about a dime after PG&E issued a high-inventory OFO for Saturday (see Transportation Notes), IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) saw citygate activity skyrocket from 836,800 MMBtu Thursday to 1,026,600 MMBtu. However, Malin, also down about a dime, had ICE volumes drop from 378,500 MMBtu to 302,200 MMBtu over the same two days.
In the Midcontinent, NGPL-TexOk fell only about a nickel, but its ICE transactions plunged from 688,300 MMBtu to 507,800 MMBtu.
A Houston marketer said cash numbers were tending to rise a bit Friday morning in tandem with mild Nymex firmness, but he still expected an overall lower cash market Monday.
A Midwest marketer also expects prices to be mostly a little weaker in the coming week but said if Friday's moderate futures strength keeps up to any extent, it should keep the physical market from crashing. Meanwhile, there's no major cold in the area forecast for the next 10 days, he said, "and the [Nov. 6-7] weekend should be extra-mild for us. Business has gotten "kind of slow" for his company currently with weather-based load having faded for the most part.
The Rockies has felt very little of winter's sting so far, especially with Denver supposed to reach the mid 70s during the weekend, said a regional producer. Lots of artificial snow-making equipment has allowed the Loveland ski resort in Colorado to open for the season already, he said, but unless a major snowstorm arrives in the next couple of weeks, some other facilities may not be ready to open by Thanksgiving as they like to do.
The producer said it was unfortunate to see delays announced for both Bison and Ruby pipelines (see Daily GPI, Nov. 5). Ruby is the much bigger line, he said, but Bison is still due to come online much sooner (next month) and its 400 MMcf/d of capacity is a good chunk of gas; more importantly, it will be taking Rockies gas eastward.
He said he can easily see Ruby becoming like Rockies Express was in terms on repeated delays in starting service. They don't even have right-of-way secured for one segment of Ruby, he said somewhat angrily, "and you'd think that would have been taken care of" first thing in the development process.
After increasing by two a week earlier, the Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Count found a decline of 12 rigs searching for gas in the U.S. during the week ending Nov. 5 (see related story).
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