Based almost entirely on the previous day’s futures spike of 42.7 cents — certainly not on a continuation of meek weather-based demand — prices rebounded at nearly all points Friday by double-digit amounts.
Despite a continuation of an Overage Alert Day through at least Friday by Florida Gas Transmission, a flat Florida citygate was the exception to overall gains ranging from a little less than a dime to nearly C35 cents (Westcoast Station 2).
The cash market had been provided positive prior-day screen guidance throughout the past week, although it had been getting more meager day by day, but it will have negative backing Monday after the October futures contract ended its run-up Friday with a loss of 29.6 cents (see related story).
Hurricane Fred remained a market nonevent far away in the eastern Atlantic, and although the National Hurricane Center was monitoring an area of “disturbed weather” moving slowly northward off the northeastern coast of Mexico, it accorded the system a low chance of becoming a tropical storm.
Weather load remained light as even much of Texas was not expected to get above 90 again before this week. Interior California was due to recede to the mid 90s or less Saturday, leaving the desert Southwest as the only true “hot spot” on the weather map. Much of the Northeast was expected to peak in the low 70s or lower during the week, while the Midwest would remain moderate with highs in the 70s.
Although pipeline restrictions were noticeably less widespread than they were going into the Labor Day weekend, affiliates Texas Eastern and Algonquin said effective Saturday through Monday they were not allowing any nominations for due-pipe imbalance makeups or creation of due-shipper imbalances. Southern Natural Gas, which is struggling with near-full storage, did declare an OFO Type 6 (see Transportation Notes).
El Paso said Friday it had set the probability of declaring a Strained Operating Condition due to excess linepack to high. And Westcoast, which said linepack was already above its desired levels Friday, expected volumes to rise significantly Saturday.
A Texas marketer said it was still viable to move gas to the Northeast from the Gulf Coast, but there wasn’t any money to be made in that area as variable costs of transportation pretty well matched the basis spreads. He expects lower prices Monday as weather demand stays lax, but primarily due to the major futures retreat Friday. It’s a “fairly quiet market” for now, he said.
California demand is currently on the low side, so the PG&E citygate’s market-leading high prices “don’t mean so much right now,” said a western trader. Also, SoCalGas storage ” is pretty close to stuffed,” he observed. He also looks for lower prices Monday because of “Nymex taking back [nearly] all of its profit-taking gains from Thursday.”
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