Although residents of the Upper Plains, Midwest, Northeast and most of Canada can expect subfreezing lows Wednesday, only a few delivery points in the Northeast showed any signs of significant heating load in their pricing Tuesday. Otherwise, following a day of gains at a large majority of locations the market was exhibiting some signs of weakness Tuesday as small upticks moderately dominated a near-flat mix of quotes.
Perhaps in a psychological reaction to a leak being found in Ohio (see Transportation Notes), Tennessee Zone 5 was the triple-digit gainer among several of the stronger Northeast increases ranging from about 15 cents to the $1.95 area. All other price changes were in single digits as most points were flat to a little less than a dime higher. Few locations were more than 3 cents up or down from unchanged.
Tuesday's cash market derived some support from the prior-day futures rise of 3.2 cents, but it will have to deal with negative screen guidance after the prompt-month contract fell 16.4 cents (see related story).
Precipitation -- either liquid or solid -- will be relatively light across the eastern U.S. while temperatures range from cold in the key market areas of the North to merely chilly or cool in the South as far west as Oklahoma and Texas. Outside frigid highs in the Upper Plains just south of the Canadian border, most of the West will stay above freezing Wednesday.
Northern Natural Gas is implementing a System Overrun Limitation Wednesday for one market-area zone (not all zones, as it did recently), and an natural gas liquids transport problem temporarily prevents Destin from serving offshore platforms (see Transportation Notes). Otherwise, except for a few Northeast pipes such as Texas Eastern and Algonquin continuing to encourage positive imbalances in the market area, there were almost no transportation constraints of any substance in effect.
The Southern California border saw a minor rise of a couple of pennies, but volumes traded there on IntercontinentalExchange jumped from 362,500 MMBtu Monday to 532,600 MMBtu Tuesday.
Credit Suisse's Hugh Li and Stefan Revielle expect a 101 Bcf storage withdrawal to be reported for the week ending Feb. 25, while IAF Advisors analyst Kyle Cooper looks for a significantly smaller pull of 78 Bcf. Stephen Smith of Stephen Smith Energy Associates said his estimate of 84 Bcf is down from an earlier one of 79 Bcf.
Citi Futures Perspective's Tim Evans predicts a 96 Bcf draw in Thursday's report, to be followed by ones of 90 Bcf, 93 Bcf and 82 Bcf in the weeks ending March 4, March 11 and March 18, respectively.
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