Although softening continued at New England locations, most of the market found enough impending increases in heating load to spur higher prices Tuesday. The overall cash bullishness was able to overcome a prior-day drop of 8.7 cents by December futures and expectations that a net build in storage had extended into at least the first week of November.

The Gulf Coast, Midcontinent/Midwest and non-New England points in the Northeast tended to record most of Tuesday’s larger upticks, which ranged overall from 2-3 cents to a little more than a quarter. Flat to about a dime lower quotes were concentrated primarily in New England, Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

Futures will provide support to a potential extension of the general cash rally Wednesday after Nymex traders sent the prompt-month contract 4.9 cents higher (see related story).

Freezing lows in the Rockies extended a CIG premium of about 2 cents over Henry Hub.

Although Columbia Gas (TCO) quotes were up about a dime, IntercontinentalExchange reported a huge dive in TCO volumes traded on its platform from 929,400 MMBtu Monday to only 670,200 MMBtu Tuesday.

Monday’s nontropical low-pressure system in the Atlantic had developed into Subtropical Storm Sean Tuesday morning and became a full-fledged tropical storm about 425 miles southwest of Bermuda later in the day. However, Sean’s projected tracking curve to the northeast would keep it well away from the East Coast.

Parts of the South can expect previously mild highs on either side of 80 to sink into the 60s Wednesday, while 50s highs and lows approaching freezing will dominate much of the Midwest’s forecast. The lower Northeast participated in Tuesday’s general price hikes despite no more than cool to chilly predictions, but unseasonably moderate peak readings in the 60s dampened heating demand in New England. Lows near or below freezing are due to continue from the Rockies through Western Canada.

Northern Natural Gas indicated that the average system-weighted temperature in its Upper Midwest market area will be falling to just above freezing Wednesday and Thursday before rebounding to around 40 Friday.

Meanwhile, the forecast posted on Kern River’s bulletin board had the Opal Plant area “warming” from a low of 4 degrees Tuesday to 8 Wednesday and 12 Thursday.

A Midwest marketer said her company had been making fairly hefty spot gas purchases in recent days to take advantage of relatively low prices, and despite Tuesday’s market run-up it had still acquired “a pretty good amount” to meet clients’ heating needs. However, it might start cutting back Wednesday if prices keep rising, she said, because area weather will be getting warmer again going into the weekend.

The marketer noted that although Consumers Energy citygate numbers had gained more than twice as much as the rise of about a dime for MichCon, it was a case of playing catch-up because the deliveries into the latter utility still commanded a premium of a nickel or so.

Stephen Smith of Stephen Smith Energy Associates said he had raised his original estimate of a 26 Bcf storage addition in the week ending Nov. 4 to 32 Bcf. Credit Suisse analyst Stefan Revielle expects a larger build of 37 Bcf.

Citi Futures Perspective’s Tim Evans weighed in with a much smaller expectation of 22 Bcf, to be followed by continuing injections of 5 Bcf and 19 Bcf for the weeks ending Nov. 11 and Nov. 19, respectively. Evans said he looks for the season’s first net withdrawal of 27 Bcf to occur in the week ending Nov. 25.

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