Eastern markets emerged from the weekend without seeing anyrebound from Friday’s slump. Prices continued to decline by mostlysmall amounts, with various points ranging from flat to just over anickel lower. A small futures drop contributed to the cashbearishness, traders said, but more than anything else it was arelative dearth of air conditioning load that sent prices down.

The softness tended to be more pronounced in the Gulf Coast thanin the Midcontinent. That was because heavy rain is causing ratherun-summerish mild conditions in the Southeast, and Gulf prices aregetting pinched by the lesser demand from Southern electricutilities than usually prevails around this time of year, aproducer said.

Meanwhile, it was like d‚j… vu all over again out West as forthe second straight week prices followed a Friday of big decreaseswith a Monday of strong recovery. Both Southern California Gas andPacific Gas & Electric had ended their high-inventory OFOs overthe weekend, and hot weather kept power generation load for gashigh, a marketer said. San Juan Basin prices were especiallystrong, rising nearly 20 cents to the mid $2.00s, largely due to amaintenance outage of the Chaco (NM) Plant begun Monday by El PasoField Services. That is keeping an estimated 450 MMcf/d-plus offthe market through today, the marketer said; then the curtailmentis expected to decrease gradually until the Chaco work is completedtoward the end of this week.

One trader saw Kern River-Opal numbers rise from $1.94 to $2.00as the morning proceeded, citing minor maintenance in the Opal areaas pushing the uptick. However, a lot of supply showed up in latetrading and caused Opal to retreat a bit to $1.98, he said.

Tennessee Line 500 fell very short at the end, according to astaffer of a large Gulf Coast aggregator. She was mildly surprisedto see Tennessee trade a couple of cents above her TexasEastern-East Louisiana deals at $2.03-05; usually it’s Tetco thatcommands the premium, she said. The market seems pretty weak rightnow, said a Gulf Coast producer, but he sees higher pricing ahead.Gas futures seemed to have some upward momentum in Monday evening’sAccess trading, he said, and crude oil futures continue to hangaround at just under $20/bbl. In addition, demand will pick upstrongly when rain ends in the Southeast and the region returns tomore normal sweltering temperatures, the producer predicted.

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