With some additions to heating load in the East being arrayed against a Rockies warming trend and a significant drop by prompt-month futures a day earlier, the result was little price movement up or down at eastern locations Tuesday along with fairly large declines at a majority of western points.

Excluding its West Coast, much of Canada had lows around freezing or lower in the Wednesday forecast, which caused Western Canada to lead overall numbers ranging from flat to a little more than C25 cents higher. A few eastern points joined most of the West in recording losses of 2-3 cents to a little more than a quarter.

The Rockies, which had experienced a rapid weekend warm-up following the massive midweek blizzard last week, was due to have lows dipping into the 30s overnight Wednesday but being largely compensated by daytime highs in the 60 area. The relatively moderate heating load for early November caused Rockies quotes to see most of Tuesday’s biggest declines.

December futures halted a downward trend with a rebound of 9.8 cents Tuesday (see related story), which will provide a modest bit of support for the cash market Wednesday.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) no longer had a subtropical gale center that it had been monitoring Monday east of Bermuda on its Atlantic tropical map, but was according better odds than before (up to 50%) for development of a low-pressure area just east of Costa Rica in the extreme southwestern Caribbean Sea. The system had become “better organized” since Monday, NHC said.

No major surges of heating load were expected to result from it, but large sections of the Northeast through the Midwest and Upper Plains are predicted to be cooling to lows in the 30s — and even 20s in some cases — Wednesday. The South has a generally mild to cool forecast with temperatures expected to peak between the mid 60s and mid 70s, although Florida will be even warmer with highs in the 80s.

Other than cold conditions in Western Canada, most of the West is expected to join the Rockies in relatively moderate to cool weather.

Although mild weather and lack of storage injection capacity were believed to be partially responsible for dropping prices in Southern California and San Juan Basin, the Northern California market was flat to about a nickel higher after PG&E said it was ending a high-inventory OFO after a four-day run (see Transportation Notes).

Based largely on the Nymex uptick, a Gulf Coast trader said she looks for mostly slightly higher cash prices Wednesday — at least in eastern markets. Also, she said, it’s not all that much, but there’s a fair amount of heating load in northern market areas.

It may seem somewhat contradictory, the trader continued, but although fundamentally it’s a weak cash market, she has been able to move about 40 MMcf/d of spot gas in recent days “with no problems finding buyers.” If her producer clients were providing more supply, it would be easy to sell, she said. “Are people just getting their last little bit into storage?” she asked rhetorically as a possible explanation for the demand in spite of generally light weather-based load.

The intermediate-term weather outlook continues to be mostly bearish for spot gas prices. In its six- to 10-day forecast posted Tuesday afternoon for the Nov. 9-13 workweek, the National Weather Service calls for above-normal temperatures everywhere east of a line running southeast from central Montana to the western ends of Nebraska and Kansas before turning mostly southward through the western Oklahoma and Texas panhandles into West Texas. NWS looks for the greatest deviations above normal to occur in the Midwest — one of the heaviest gas-using regions for heating purposes. The agency expects below-normal readings only in all of California and Nevada along with large portions of Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Arizona.

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