Cash prices continued to romp higher by another 15 cents Tuesday, led by weather-driven strength along the Eastern Seaboard. Large price gains typically seen on constrained New England pipelines such as Algonquin and Iroquois were also seen throughout the Northeast on Transco, Texas Eastern and Tennessee.
Gains were widespread and partially reflected the healthy 7-cent gain posted when futures traded at a six-week high on Monday. In Tuesday’s trading the April contract was unchanged at $3.529, and May added 0.3 cents to $3.575. April crude oil gained 70 cents to $90.82/bbl.
Responding to reports that the TransColorado pipeline had been reversing flows and sending volumes north into the Rockies, a Denver producer said that a producer in the Piceance Basin of western Colorado would more likely find it attractive to move gas north to the hub at Opal rather than south to the San Juan Basin interconnect at Blanco, NM.
“I think there are interconnects from the Piceance up to Ruby [and the West Coast]. If you are in the Piceance, I would think you would want to go to Kern River. I think they run 22 cents to run gas from Opal to Southern California. Kern River is one of the most efficient shippers in the country,” he said.
Basis swings may have also had a lot to do with the flow reversal. Gas was quoted Tuesday on El Paso Permian at $3.52 and at Transwestern Blanco Hub at $3.49. At Opal, gas was quoted at $3.58, and deliveries to Malin were seen at $3.62.
On Northwest Pipeline, Wyoming deliveries Wednesday came in at $3.56, up 12 cents, and on CIG Wednesday packages were seen at $3.54, higher by 14 cents. At the Cheyenne Hub, next-day gas came in at $3.57, up 10 cents.
Northeast markets responded to forecasts of stormy conditions and temperatures slightly lower than normal. Forecaster Wunderground.com expected Boston’s Tuesday high of 43 to drop to 41 Wednesday and head back to 43 on Friday. The normal high in Boston is 42. New York City’s Tuesday high of 46 was anticipated to slide to 43 Wednesday and 43 on Friday. The seasonal high in New York is 46.
The National Weather Service in New York City said “weak high-pressure weakens late tonight [Tuesday]. A Nor’easter will affect the region Wednesday into Friday. High pressure begins to build in from the north and west Friday night and remain in control through the beginning of next week.”
Quotes at Algonquin Citygates for Wednesday deliveries rose 94 cents to $7.46, and deliveries to Iroquois Waddington gained 62 cents to $5.47. On Tennessee Zone 6 200 L Wednesday packages added 91 cents to $7.31.
Healthy gains were also registered farther south. On Tetco M-3 next-day deliveries rose 35 cents to $4.12, and on Dominion Wednesday gas came in at $3.71, up 9 cents. Gas bound for New York City on Transco Zone 6 jumped 50 cents to $4.37.
Futures traders are skeptical that the market will be able to advance much further. “I don’t see any room to the upside,” said a New York floor trader. “I think we have seen the upside moves and at these points I think you won’t see any more upside action. There is still plenty of storage, and in another month we are going to start building again.”
In a Tuesday morning comment, Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates said he saw Monday’s gains as largely driven by updates to short-term weather forecasts. “As this week proceeds, it appears that the temperature factor will continue to offer price support, at least until Thursday’s storage data is revealed. We look for this support to be much less price supportive than was the case last week, and we will look for any major EIA-related rallies to be met by a renewed influx of institutional capital back into the short side of the market.
“With the weather factor diminishing in importance, we feel that items such as production and import trends will be taking on more significance, with these items likely to tilt in a bearish direction as this month proceeds.”
WSI Corp. said, Tuesday’s six- to 10-day “forecast is similar to [Monday], however slightly colder over the Northeast early in the period as a result of recent trends towards a developing low-pressure system in the short-range producing snow cover across portions of southern New England and New York.” No changes were noted to the 11- to 15-day outlook.
Market technicians see further advances in the cards. “While the last few days of trading has left us with a mild case of whiplash, our primary wave count has emerged unscathed. We are still looking for an ABC pattern to unfold from the 3.050 low,” said Brian LaRose, an analyst with United-ICAP.
“Assuming the bulls can push above $3.554, a further advance to the $3.720-3.744 (a=c) vicinity will be anticipated from here. Expect this zone to determine if a seasonal bottom is in place at $3.050.”
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