Enough cold weather was either arriving or developing Tuesday inthe northern and western regions of the U.S. to arrest, at leasttemporarily, the mild price slide that had begun the week. For achange there was remarkable cross-market consistency in thatvirtually all points traded flat to up or down a couple of cents.

Cash prices “just kind of hung around” like the futures screen,a marketer said. But with bidweek approaching, “we’ll have to seesome convergence next week,” he added; either cash has to come downor the screen has to come up.

Several sources noted the market is staying fairly quiet. Onemused the reason Tuesday might have been a combination of St.Patrick’s Day and “post-Houston trade fair blues.”

Midcontinent pipes all traded in the mid $2.10s, withANR-Southwest commanding a small premium as usual andNGPL-Midcontinent dipping to $2.12 in the late going, a marketersaid. Another trader said people had tried to talk prices up, atfirst based on the screen’s small gain Monday, but it didn’t work.Her company saw mostly flat pricing mixed with small drops.

The PG&E Citygate continued to distance itself from SouthernCalifornia border numbers. While SoCal quotes stayed flat in thelow $2.30s Tuesday, PG&E was a rare point that gained more than2 cents, placing it at least a dime above SoCal. In the first 10days or so of March the two indexes had tended to trade at matchinglevels. One source thought the relative softness at the southernborder was the weekend return of the Palo Verde nuclear plant tothe power pool. That displaced the approximate equivalent of 300MMcf/d of electric generation load, he said.

A marketer reported early April basis for Panhandle Eastern atminus 9.5-10.5, with ONG a bit stronger at minus 8.5-9.5. Buyersare trying to push the Panhandle basis lower but meeting strongresistance to keep it around minus 10, he said. Midcontinent basishas a hard time slipping below that level in any given month.

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