Cash prices continued on an upward track Thursday, although thegains were a bit smaller than those posted Wednesday. A fewincreases barely exceeded a nickel, such as at Waha and the HoustonShip Channel, where Texas air conditioning load is growing.Northeast citygates tended to go up about a nickel as a sourcereported storage demand rising there now that the injection seasonis under way. Most other points rose between 2 and 4 cents. It’sthe same old story about why the market has been fairly strong thisweek, a trader said-power generation load, a firm screen andwestern cold.

Florida was under another “power alert” Thursday following anexplosion that killed one worker and injured 45 and shut down aTECO Energy coal-fired power plant (1,270 MW) near Tampa. The alertresulted from TECO “issuing public appeals for conservation due tothe explosion at the Gannon Plant,” according to the FloridaReliability Coordinating Council. The state’s first such alert ofthe year occurred Tuesday during hot weather while several powerplants were down for spring maintenance.

Florida’s electric generation load again boosted prices intoFlorida Gas Transmission, said a marketer quoting Zone 2 deals at$2.07-08. He thinks the Florida market will remain strong for sometime, especially as state officials and utilities are concernedthat the TECO plant may not be back in service by the summer.Actually, all Gulf Coast pipes serving the hot and muggy South arecurrently pretty strong in both pricing and gas volumes, themarketer and other sources noted. Sonat, Henry Hub and TranscoStation 65 numbers were also in the mid- to high- $2.00s Thursday.

“I’ve got one word for you about this market: strong,” said aproducer reporting South Texas sales over $2. “It’s actually evenstronger than we expected coming into the month. April wascertainly a good month to enter long on supply.” He reportedgetting many calls each trading day asking for gas since April 1.

There was a lot of demand in San Juan Basin and the Californiaborder due to the West Coast remaining unseasonably cool, amarketer said.

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