As expected, Friday turned out to be another day of “following the screen” as the cash market responded to the previous day’s 24.6-cent drop by August futures with declines at most points. Modest cooling trends in northern market areas and the loss of industrial load that accompanies a weekend contributed to the general cash bearishness.
Once again flat to a little more than half a dollar higher numbers in the Rockies prevented an across the board run of softening. All of the losses were in double digits, ranging from a little less than 15 cents to nearly 60 cents. The Northeast, which was still due to see some highs five to 10 degrees above average in the 90s Saturday but have a cold front take peak temperatures to the more normal 80s Sunday, recorded most of the largest declines.
Despite Friday’s sizable drops at most points, only half a dozen or so of them were trading at discounts to first-of-month indexes. And Henry Hub wound up in the relatively unusual position of averaging a few cents above the futures settlement, although the September contract was above the Hub during morning cash trading.
The September futures contract, which induced alternative up-and-down movement in cash quotes last week, had relatively neutral guidance for Monday’s trading by falling a scant 1.6 cents to $6.090 Friday.
High heat levels will return in the coming week to much of the East and continue as usual in the desert Southwest, but two sources said they were unsure whether there would be enough of a temperature rise early on to induce a rally Monday.
The tropical storm scene remains quiet with a few tropical waves being monitored but not expected to see the proper conditions for sufficient develop into a named storm.
Kern River saw the day’s biggest gain despite reporting high linepack systemwide Friday (see Transportation Notes).
It was obviously a “pretty soft” trading session, said a Midcontinent producer. There’s little available storage injection capacity in the region except on OGT, which made it one of the relatively strongest Midcontinent pipes, he said. Also there was plenty of intrastate power generation demand from the utilities with Tulsa and Oklahoma City forecast to continue peaking in the mid 90s Saturday.
With very hot weather scheduled to return in most of the East this week, the producer said he thought Friday softness represented a bottom for cash prices, at least for a while.
A Calgary-based producer judged it “a pretty orderly market” Friday. There certainly was no surprise about the softness, he said, what with futures falling the day before and northern U.S. market areas due to see falling temperatures during the weekend.
Volumes into the Chicago citygate market are increasing, the producer continued. Alliance raised Authorized Overrun Service from a very low 4% Thursday to 10% Friday and would increase it to a “more normal” 16% Saturday, he said. And easing or elimination of constraints on other pipelines was allowing more gas deliveries in the Midwest in general, he added.
The number of drilling rigs actively searching for gas in the U.S. fell by four during the week ending Aug. 3, according to the Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Count (https://intelligencepress.com/features/bakerhughes/). Most of the decline occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, where the rig tally was down three.
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