There were still a few softening locations in the market Monday, but it was strength all the way Tuesday. Slightly milder temperatures will be returning in parts of the South Wednesday, but they will be offset by cooling trends in the previously unseasonably moderate Northeast.

Only a couple of gains failed to reach double digits as they ranged from about a nickel to the 45-cent area. Except for the smallest upticks being concentrated in California, Western Canada and deliveries to the desert Southwest, increases were mixed fairly evenly among regions.

November-ending averages ranged from about 85 cents above to about 65 cents below first-of-month indexes. With the exception of Tennessee Zone 4’s Line 300 recording the big advance as a result of continuing additions to Marcellus Shale takeaway capacity, the gains tended to be small and were greatly outnumbered by the retreats.

Obviously, as steep as Monday’s futures slide was at 17.8 cents, it was no hindrance to the big gains in Tuesday’s physical market. And the January gas contract at Nymex will provide support to the launch of the December cash aftermarket Wednesday after beginning its prompt-month reign with an advance of 10.8 cents (see related story).

With the Atlantic hurricane season on the verge of coming to a meek end, the National Hurricane Center reported Tuesday watching a weak low-pressure area about 200 miles northeast of the northern Leeward Islands but gave the system only 10% odds of becoming a tropical or subtropical cyclone within 48 hours. Its projected path was to the northeast or north.

The upper reaches of the South got a bit of snow Tuesday, as expected. Most of that region will warm a bit but stay on the chilly to cold side while the Midwest and Northeast largely can expect either static or falling temperatures.

The forecast posted on Kern River’s bulletin board for several western cities indicated lows in the single digits or less than zero for some sections of the Rockies around Thursday.

A Midcontinent producer observed that such a forecast for the Rockies is likely to benefit prices in his region going into the weekend. It will keep more Rockies supply at home instead of getting sent into Midcontinent/Midwest markets, he said.

However, although many places are turning colder this week, the producer said it didn’t seem to be cold enough overall to justify such big price jumps as those on seen Tuesday. Noting that many parties still appear to be holding back on withdrawing from storage, he said he couldn’t help but suspect there might be some market manipulation trying to drive prices higher so some could make better profits later on by selling from storage.

The producer said his company’s gas is not getting the access to OGT service that it would like because the pipeline won’t take the gas to the highest-priced markets. He could transport to a lower-priced destination, but OGT’s high rates make that undesirable, he said. Still, he marveled that average OGT prices moved from about $2.70 on the day before Thanksgiving to the $3.50 area Tuesday.

Southern reports that injections are still occurring at its two storage facilities. As of Thanksgiving Day working gas volumes stood at 58.5 Bcf, or 98% of the total 60.0 Bcf capacity, a bulletin board posting said Monday afternoon. That compares with 58.3 Bcf on Nov. 17 and 57.9 Bcf on Nov. 10 (both rounded to 97%).

Stephen Smith of Stephen Smith Energy Associates said he had lowered his original estimate of a 10 Bcf storage injection for the week ending Nov. 25 to 8 Bcf. Credit Suisse’s Stefan Revielle looks for a 10 Bcf build to be reported. And Citi Futures Perspective analyst Tim Evans predicted an 8 Bcf addition for last week, to be followed by the withdrawal season’s first pulls of 20 Bcf, 132 Bcf and 135 Bcf for the weeks ending Dec. 2, Dec. 9 and Dec. 16, respectively.

December baseload business was dwindling rapidly on IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), but many prices were rebounding strongly along with the screen. ICE said CIG numbers rose from $3.35 Monday to about $3.43 Tuesday, while the PG&E citygate went from slightly less than $3.88 to a little more than $3.92. Panhandle Eastern saw a similar rise of about a nickel Tuesday to about $3.435, ICE said.

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