The usual slump in weekend demand and moderating weather hadcash prices softening Friday, but for the most part losses weresurprisingly small considering how weak the market had seemed inthe face of record-setting heat waves earlier in the week. The onlyreally big declines hitting double digits occurred at opposite endsof the U.S.: Transco Zone 6 citygates in the Northeast, andCalifornia and San Juan Basin numbers in the Southwest.

Though San Juan-Blanco was down about a dime, Permian quotesheld essentially flat as a late supply squeeze drove a rebound thattook prices from the mid $1.80s into the low to mid $1.90s. Amarketer thought some people just waited too long, expecting theprice fall to go lower and then having to ante up when it didn’t.Another source felt Waha might have fallen by more than 2-3 centsexcept that the Comanche Peak nuclear plant in North Texas,already reportedly at only 85% of full power, was to ramp down abit further for the weekend, giving a small boost to intrastateTexas power demand.

In addition to the Permian rebound, small late upticks were seenat the Chicago citygate and Columbia-Appalachia. Activity wasreported as very light at several offices as traders either tookthe day off or headed home early.

A trader said Topock pricing at the Southern California borderhas positioned itself to compete with Canadian supplies at thePG&E citygate by using a simple formula: from the prevailingcitygate level, subtract the cost of as-available Baja Pathtransport to derive a Topock value.

For the first time in his memory a marketer was hearing negativebasis for Michigan citygates in August. It’s all because of thestate’s abundant storage facilities that are getting close to full,he said. And even Friday’s basis talk of minus 4 represented a”tweaking up” of the market, since he had been getting minus 6offers earlier in the week.

Though several points have appeared to be weakening for Augustas last week neared an end, Malin was an exception. A marketeragreed with another trader that August Malin numbers had firmedslightly into the upper $1.90s Friday after she had done a $1.96deal Thursday. Other August fixed-price quotes Friday includedStanfield in the high $1.60s and Kingsgate in the low $1.60s.

©Copyright 1998 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. Thepreceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, inwhole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent ofIntelligence Press,Inc.