Northeast citygates and a few other locations, mostly in the West, were able to get a price boost from the severe cold expected to be occupying most of Canada and the U.S. by the start of this week. The rest of the market appeared to pay little attention as losses of less than a dime dominated.
Flat to about 95 cents higher, averages had the biggest increases concentrated in the Northeast, where Transco Zone 5 claimed the top quote of $7.50 and the same pipeline's Zone 6-New York pool taking the prize for highest average at a little more than $7, according to IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) data.
Meanwhile, the rest of the market ignored the buildup of heating load in ranging from 2-3 cents to a little more than a dime lower.
By virtue of Henry Hub's drop of about a nickel and CIG's dime gain, the Rockies pipe was in the rare position of commanding about an 8-cent premium over Henry.
February futures will have essentially neutral guidance for Monday's cash market after the Nymex contract fell only 1.2 cents (see related story).
After seeming rather nonchalant about it earlier, more pipes were starting to caution customers about drawing down linepack too far during the coming week. Only a couple were anywhere near OFO-like, while most just asked customers to remain in balance. Some even said it was quite OK to run positive imbalances.
Despite more snow impacting the New York City area, there appeared to be no significant market-area transport problems. However, equipment freeze-offs were hampering some western operations. The Kern River bulletin board projected a high/low range of 19/-11 for Sunday in the Opal Plant region, and had already signaled a Williams Field Service notice of some freeze-offs Thursday in the Big Piney and Moxa areas. And El Paso said it was going into the weekend "with an expectation for supply shortfalls due to freeze-offs" in the San Juan Basin area.
As last year was coming to a close Bison Pipeline asked FERC (see Daily GPI, Dec. 28, 2010) to approve its request to put most of its new system in service by Tuesday (Jan. 4). But although the approval was given, service was still not yet available as of last Friday because of final commissioning work, some of which related to the monitoring of pipeline pressures, a Bison spokesman told NGI (see Daily GPI, Jan. 5).
A Rockies producer said regional suppliers eager for another outlet for their gas to the Upper Plains where it could make connections to Midwest markets were saying Bison hadn't gotten much more than half of the 1 Bcf of linepack needed to begin operations. He said he understood that the pipeline's current linepack procurement rate was around 45MMcf/d, so it looked as if start-up would not happen until well after mid-January.
The Katy Hub west of Houston saw about a 4-cent loss on ICE, yet although it was one of the few points still in a fairly mild-weather zone, Katy activity on ICE skyrocketed from 579,300 MMBtu in Friday flows to 894,400 MMBtu of weekend nominations.
Southern reports a rapid drawdown occurring at its two storage facilities. With total working capacity of 60.0 Bcf, Southern said inventory stood at 44.1 Bcf, or 74%, on Dec. 30, 2010. That compares to 48.2 Bcf (80%) on Dec. 31, 2009 and 50.2 Bcf (84%) on Jan. 1, 2009.
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