Big spikes in the Northeast led across-the-board price gains Monday as often severely cold weather settled in across most of the U.S. and Canada for what was looking like a fairly long siege, prompting quite a few pipeline restrictions (see related story). The return of industrial load from a holiday weekend added extra impetus to the market.

It was pointed out that having high levels of gas in storage couldn’t shield the market from high prices when a lot was needed on short notice and deliverability fell short of those levels.

Increases ranged from a nickel or so to about $6.25. Transco Zone 6-New York easily topped all other advances and had a peak quote of $15.86. The Florida citygate joined the Northeast in recording triple-digit spikes.

Monday’s cash market had to “struggle” with negative guidance from the Christmas Eve retreat of 13.7 cents by February futures, but it will have ample support Tuesday after the contract rallied by 32.1 cents Monday amid major strength throughout Nymex’s energy futures complex (see related story).

Forecasts of Tuesday lows near freezing or less penetrated as far south as the Gulf Coast and extended westward through the Rockies. Virtually all of Canada except for the Vancouver area on the West Coast could expect to sink into the teens, with single digits or below-zero readings due at many locations.

The West Coast and desert Southwest were among the few areas not expected to feel bone-chilling cold.

The arctic blast was just beginning, however, with even more frigid weather expected later in the week.

Despite the cold weather-related constraints on several other pipes to the east (see Transportation Notes) and forecasts of lows just above zero and about 10 below for Calgary and Edmonton, respectively, NOVA was a rare pipeline in cautioning shippers that there was potential for a change in its imbalance tolerance range “due to supply-demand imbalance leading to high linepack.”

A Texas-based marketer said at this point he could see little if any chance for cash price softness returning this week, at least not based on the weather and so far not on screen performance. Physical demand will remain very strong, he said, and storage deliverability will be challenged to meet even a minority part of that demand. It’s getting near the middle of winter, he noted, and unless a big change in pattern comes along, the market should stay strong for the foreseeable future.

Quotes were mostly tending to rise in the Northeast as Monday’s trading proceeded, he said, which often points the way to where the market is heading on the succeeding day.

©Copyright 2010Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.