Cash numbers were softening as expected Thursday, following theprompt of the futures screen’s late downturn Wednesday. But itlooks like it’s already time to reverse field again and head upwardtoday based on the screen’s strong gain Thursday, sources said.

Most of the downticks were in the range of 4-8 cents but tendedto be smaller at Northeast citygates and the California borders.

Intra-Alberta was a conspicuous exception to the generalsoftening as quotes continued their recent dramatic surge, gettingas high as C$2.26, a marketer said. Plant turnarounds have taken anestimated 600 MMcf/d off the provincial market, he said. May andthe summer months have responded by trading up to C$2.23 andC$2.13-14 respectively. Due to the turnaround season and a tightsupply/demand balance, the marketer doesn’t expect the currentprice spike to fade anytime soon.

Some constraints on the Southwest leg of ANR were making it hardto get gas into ANR from other pipes, said a marketer whose ANRprices averaging $2.32 were running slightly above those onPanhandle Eastern and NGPL-Midcontinent. That situation was backingup gas into Northern Natural Gas but didn’t seem to affect pricesthere much, he said.

“Anyone that sold before 9 o’clock this [Thursday] morning isprobably regretting it now,” a Southwestern marketer said. But thenwho could blame them after people were “dumping” so much gas lateWednesday, he added.

Many sources agreed that Thursday’s softness was only anaberration in what remains a strong gas market. There are a lot ofsupply-demand “shorts” left over from the first of the month, saidone who though the market was “just pausing to catch its breath”Thursday before resuming its climb.

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