As trading for next month picked up some momentum Wednesday, theMay market appeared to be developing with less volatility than inprevious bidweeks this year. One marketer reported Chicago citygatedeals Wednesday in the exact same $2.36-39 range as he had tradedTuesday. Many other points also were reported to be staying closeto their starting levels. However, a couple of sources reportedSouthern California border numbers falling slightly to $2.22-24from the mid-$2.20s., while a marketer said Sumas was recovering tothe mid $1.90s after having dipped slightly Tuesday.

A Calgary trader attributed the Sumas rebound mostly to AGA’safternoon report of 5 Bcf in storage injections last week. AnOklahoma marketer said he considered the figure bullish because hiscompany had been anticipating injections of at least 20 Bcf.

“Producers and marketers are caught in a standoff right now over[May] prices,” a Midcontinent source said. “Producers are hesitantto sell their supply as baseload only to have aftermarket pricesmove up like in April. Conversely, marketing companies areskeptical that these prices are going to hold up, and they also arewilling to wait until the swing market.”

The above source reported ANR-Southwest, Panhandle Eastern andNGPL-Midcontinent pool trading evenly with each other at $2.23-25.But Northern Natural-demarcation point is lagging, he said, quotinga $2.14 demarc deal done Tuesday. Demarc is being discountedbecause of the perception that plentiful Canadian gas will find itsway south to Northern Natural-Ventura, he said.

A Texas marketer reported Waha ($2.23-26) trading at virtualparity with the Southern California border ($2.24) for May. InApril indexes, the border index of $1.78 led Waha by 6 cents. Shealso quoted El Paso-Permian at $2.14-15.

In the near-afterthought that was late-April swing business, afew points registered as flat while the majority were slightlysofter by 1-3 cents. At a nickel down, Northwest-domestic was oneof the rare markets dropping my more than 3 cents; however, Sumasgas into Northwest was nearly flat in the low $2.00s.

Hasn’t storage injection season started yet? Northwest’sWednesday morning bulletin board report of Jackson Prairie storageactivity for Tuesday’s gas day showed about 61 MMcf of withdrawalsnominated, and the actual withdrawal figure was more than twicethat at about 129 MMcf.

©Copyright 1999 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. Thepreceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, inwhole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent ofIntelligence Press, Inc.