An Arctic cold front spreading through the nation’s midsectionwas enough to arrest a late December slide in cash prices Tuesday,at least in Eastern markets, which tended to be flat to slightlyhigher. But except for essential flatness at Waha and the PermianBasin, most of the West fell by about a dime or more, topped by adrop of almost 30 cents at Stanfield.

Snowy conditions dominated much of the Midwest Tuesday, and whatsome consider the most powerful winter storm so far this season wasexpected to leave behind several inches of snow in the area as itcontinues toward the East Coast and Southeast. Well freeze-offs mayreturn in the Midcontinent as a consequence.

Despite the cold weather, El Paso was reporting excessivelinepack conditions and ANR extended a ban on interruptible storageinjections into next month.

A producer reported that its term customers with swing rightshad been returning all the gas they could lately.

“Who would have ever thought we’d see $1.60s and $1.70s pricingfor January in the Gulf Coast?” lamented a producer who sold SouthTexas gas into Tennessee at $1.68. She thought there was a goodchance for January numbers to rise between Tuesday and Thursdayafternoon, but still considered the market very weak. Gulf Coastindexes in the $1.70s would represent declines of about 30 centsfrom December.

Sumas, which has been flying high in the second half ofDecember, appears to be headed for a major increase of almost adollar in January. One trader reported a hugely volatile Sumasrange of $2.60-3.40 but said most deals were centering around $3.

January reports Tuesday included Transco Zone 6-NYC at $2.29,Malin at $2.08-10, Questar at $1.76 and Transco Station 65 in the$1.80 area. One source was doing basis deals at minus 4 forCarthage, minus 3 for Katy and minus 7 for Texas Eastern-West LA.

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