Friday’s mild firmness wasn’t terribly impressive following thedazzling display of cash price might the day before, but it didmake last week five-for-five on ever-higher quotes each day.

A range of flat to about a nickel higher was fairly uniformacross nearly all markets, except for upticks at the SouthernCalifornia border and PG&E citygate that reached double digits.The border strength seemed a bit surprising in light of theOFO-like Overnominations Day notice issued by SoCal Gas forSaturday (PG&E did not follow suit with its own OFO). Butbecause Southern California temperatures were getting warmer goinginto the weekend, many people weren’t expecting the OFO and hadalready traded quite a bit of gas at stronger prices before it wasissued at 7:30 PDT (9:30 CDT), one source said. That sent priceslower for a while as one would expect, he said, but then there wasa late rebound that he thought was created by EnronOnline tradingfor reasons he couldn’t fathom.

The screen was higher all day and wound up with a dime-plusgain. Some may have wondered why cash failed to match thatstrength. A Midcontinent trader pointed out that screen deals arebased on future perceptions while cash looks more at immediatedemand, “and of course that’s nearly always lower for a weekendperiod.”

Waha and Permian prices got “beaten up” in late deals largelydue to mild intrastate Texas demand, a couple of sources agreed.Both points saw wide ranges on either side of 20 cents and wereamong the rare points experiencing small losses. In addition tonormal dampened weekend load, a cool front moving from Oklahomainto West Texas and rain expected to last into the weekend overmuch of East Texas was responsible for the late softening, onesaid. In addition, he went on, the South Texas 1 nuclear plant unitwas at 88% operating levels Friday and potentially could havereached 100% Saturday or Sunday.

The cash bullishness may have slackened Friday, but shouldreturn this week, several traders believe. The screen’s strengthFriday will provide at least a little impetus for cash at thebeginning of the week, but more importantly “they’re expectingsignificant heat in several regions,” one said. And don’t forget,the sense of urgency about refilling storage got a big push lastweek, he added.

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