Natural gas cash prices were predominantly down Monday across the United States with the exception of the East, which saw mixed action with more gains than losses.
It appears much of the country followed the price weakness put in place late last week by natural gas futures. Front-month natural gas futures values dropped 42.3 cents last week thanks in part to two bearish gas supply reports released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
In addition to the weekly EIA storage report, which for the week ending April 23 revealed a larger than expected 83 Bcf, traders last week also had to process the EIA’s announcement of February 2010 production estimates, which included recalculations for all of 2009 and January 2010 using a new methodology (see Daily GPI, April 27). While expectations were for a significant downward revision (see Daily GPI, April 29), the actual revision came in smaller than most had expected (see Daily GPI, April 30).
Cash traders might find more solid footing on Tuesday as the June futures contract on Monday added 8 cents to close at $4 (see related story).
For Tuesday delivery, most cash point averages declined between a nickel and a dime, with the exception of eastern points. A few points in the East dropped by a penny to 6 cents, but a number of locations — mostly in the Northeast — gained between a penny and 7 cents.
“We bought a little bit of gas on Monday,” said a trader with a Northeast utility. “Prices are pretty unremarkable. The only real change we’re seeing is that the Canadian supply is not what it used to be. We’re not buying a whole lot of gas out of Canada anymore.”
The trader added that the national storage inventory picture remains rosy. “Like the rest of the country, we’re on good footing when it comes to storage,” he told NGI. “Our inventories are on schedule.”
Including last week’s report for the week ending April 23, working gas storage levels sit at 1,912 Bcf, which is 101 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 303 Bcf above the five-year average of 1,609 Bcf.
He added that the industry dodged a bullet last week on the production data revisions. “The government revisions were not as bad as most people expected and the fresh data for February showed that production is up, which helped the Nymex come off last week.”
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