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Prices Continue Dips Virtually Across the Board

The cash market saw further drops at all points except one Friday. There was little change in overall weather-based load for the weekend as small temperature gains in some sections were largely balanced by slight cooling trends, while some areas were seeing little change in their forecasts.

However, the bearish storage report and Nymex drop of 12.4 cents a day earlier, along with the reduced industrial demand accompanying a weekend, were among the drivers of Friday's softness.

A flat Texas Eastern M-1 (24-inch diameter line) was the sole exception to losses ranging from about a nickel to about 20 cents. The Northeast was joined by the Rockies/Southwest basin market in recording many of the larger downturns.

July futures began their three-day settlement period with a rally of 3.6 cents (see related story), promising a modicum of support for Monday's cash market.

SoCalGas kept a high-linepack OFO in place for Saturday, and Transco's systemwide Imbalance OFO to guard against high linepack was scheduled to go into effect that day. On the other hand, with some Florida temperatures still due to hit the mid 90s Saturday, Florida Gas Transmission extended an Overage Alert Day through at least Friday.

Peak temperatures in the mid 90s would remain in fashion for most of the South through Texas and Oklahoma during the weekend, but that obviously did nothing to counteract Friday's softness. The really hot spot of the market remained the desert Southwest, where highs were expected to range from around 100 to the 110 area. But some of the largest declines occurred there, where the market was dampened by the SoCalGas OFO.

Midwest readings had gone up a bit from an earlier cool spell but would be only moderate with highs mostly in the 70-80 range. New England also was getting a bit warmer, but weekend highs around 70 or so meant no air conditioning demand and precious little, if any, heating load. The lower Northeast had substantially warmer forecasts with temperatures expected to top out from the low to mid 80s in New York City and Philadelphia, but again there was no positive impact on prices.

Much of the West had a mixed outlook, with the Rockies cooling a little but remaining generally warm, while the Pacific Northwest was seeing a small temperature rise but remaining generally cool and Western Canada was retreating into chilly conditions.

A Texas-based marketer said there was "only so much downside" on the Nymex for right now, but if it doesn't get seriously hot later in a widespread area later this summer, she expected the market to see quite a bit of weakness. However, if crude oil numbers keep going down, she thought it would have somewhat of a supportive impact for futures and cash gas prices.

Bidweek "is holding its own," she said, adding that she is looking for near-flat July indexes. She was rushing to finish her company's July baseload business Friday afternoon due to travel engagements next week.

Sure enough, a western trader reported El Paso-San Juan deals in the mid $4.00s, unchanged from June levels.

He noted that when SoCalGas has a high-linepack OFO in place, it also tends to lower border prices for some gas being shipped into the PG&E system. It's pretty cool all along the California coast, he noted, and although inland California highs have come down from around 100 earlier in the week, it was still on the hot side in the 90 area.

IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) had at least one discrepancy in the early flat trend for first-of-month indexes, saying Chicago citygates for July averaged $4.30 Friday on its platform, down nearly a dime from NGI's June index of $4.39.

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