The Northeast remains the market area most affected by the current cold blast, with Transco Zone 5 recording the peak number of $12 Monday and the New York section of Transco's Zone 6 having the leading average. Although the market realized losses of 2-3 cents to nearly 15 cents (with the weakest dips in the Rockies), more points than before were feeling the weather impact with numbers ranging from flat to about $2.40 higher.
All the triple-digit increases occurred in the Northeast, where residents will have to wait a while longer for relief from a winter storm moving out to sea because a new one is moving in from the west, according to The Weather Channel. But harsher conditions are also moving into the South (prompting an OFO on Southern) and midweek temperatures about 10-15 degrees below normal are forecast for the Midwest.
The screen's meager negative influence on Monday's cash market following a February contract drop of 1.2 cents Friday will grow slightly more negative for Tuesday after a further downturn of 2.3 cents (see related story).
The Florida citygate joined the Northeast with a fairly large gain of about 40 cents, primarily because of Florida Gas Transmission warning customers that cold forecasts for its market area likely would prompt it to issue an Overage Alert Day for Tuesday.
El Paso's bulletin board had nothing more to say about a pre-weekend warning of potential wellhead freeze-offs in the San Juan Basin, but a series of notes since then about high linepack problems indicated that if freezes did occur they would be negligible to pipeline operations.
A producer confirmed that receipts exceeding offtakes resulted in the San Juan cold-weather supply disruptions failing to materialize. Low temperatures last weekend remained slightly above zero, compared to as much as 27 degrees below zero Jan. 1-2, "when production was actually affected." Although Monday night temperatures in the region were expected to fall to 13 below, he said, but both highs and lows are seen rising beyond Monday, minimizing the chances of supply interruptions.
However, CIG still had a cold weather-related Strained Operating Condition in effect through at least Tuesday.
Although temperatures in the Opal Plant area will stay before freezing through at least Wednesday, according to the Kern River bulletin board, the high/low of 22/12 projected for that day represents a warming trend in the Rockies.
A price increase of nearly $1.10 at Texas Eastern M-3 was accompanied by a more than doubling of volumes traded on IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) from 164,000 MMBtu for the weekend period to 359,100 MMBtu in Tuesday flows. On the opposite coast, ICE said SoCal citygate activity on its online platform plummeted from 713,900 MMBtu to 565,600 MMBtu even though the average price dropped less than a dime.
The number of drilling rigs searching for gas in the U.S. fell by another five to 914 during the week ending Jan. 7, according to the Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Count. One rig joined the Gulf of Mexico action, while six were deactivated onshore. The latest Baker Hughes tally was 4% lower than a month ago but 17% above the year-earlier level.
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