Cash prices continued to advance Wednesday with the West onceagain leading the procession, and there was no hint of a setback insight as the screen rose above $5 for October and reported storageinjections remained below par. Crude oil futures also were verystrong, with the October contract settling a dime short of $35/bbl.

Much like the day before, eastern markets saw upticks that werefairly consistently on either side of a dime. Meanwhile, except forWaha/Permian Basin, western increases tended to range from about 30cents to a little more than 50 cents. Transportation constraints,along with strong cooling load combined with nuclear plant outages,accounted for much of the West’s strength, sources said.

AGA said 42 Bcf was injected last week, a figure that was belowexpectations and signified further growth in the refill deficit.

A marketer in the cool Midwest perceived weather fundamentals asmostly bearish, “but prices keep going up anyway.” His end-usercustomers are praying that their problems with high energy priceswill be resolved, the marketer said, “but it doesn’t seem to bedoing any good.”

Waha prices maintained the small premium to Katy that developedTuesday. Waha was rising steadily Wednesday, except for a briefstall in the middle of trading, to finish the day around $5, onetrader said. Intrastate Texas air conditioning demand was a bit offdue a slight cooling trend but still strong, but westward Wahaflows into El Paso were rising as the pipeline was able to expandSouth Mainline capacity a bit more (see Transportation Notes).”Maybe we should break out the sweaters here in Houston,” themarketer joked. “For the first time in over a week we’re notexceeding 100 degrees.”

California, which was a rare market in beginning September belowindex levels, had all three major points trading above indexWednesday. Prices there got a boost from Transwestern maintenancethat began Wednesday and caused significant cuts in San JuanLateral and West of Thoreau capacity. The maintenance is scheduledto be completed Sunday.

A tropical wave had moved to less than 550 miles east of theLeeward Islands as of Wednesday afternoon and was given a goodchance of developing into a tropical depression soon.

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