With overall weather fundamentals strengthening only marginally, prices continued to fall at a slight majority of points Monday.
The physical market was able to claim modest increases of heat levels in the South, the previous Friday’s 5.8-cent gain by July futures and the return of industrial load from its normal weekend hiatus as supportive factors at locations that were flat to a little more than a dime higher. Other points recorded losses ranging from 2-3 cents to a little more than a quarter. The greatest weakness occurred in the Midcontinent, Southwest basins and California.
Tuesday’s cash trading will have moderately negative guidance from Nymex, where the July natural gas contract dropped 13.7 cents Monday (see related story).
Both PG&E and SoCalGas had ended high-linepack OFOs that were in effect for Saturday only. However, El Paso still had a Strained Operating Condition in effect Monday due to high linepack at four specific locations (see Transportation Notes). And despite a curtailed production period that began Sunday at its Fort Nelson Gas Plant (see Daily GPI, June 5), Westcoast said it was still experiencing high linepack.
Most of the South, along with the Midcontinent, will be starting to approach their normal summertime potential of highs in at least the low 90s Tuesday, according to Madison, WI-based Weather Central. The Texas end will be especially torrid, with many locations peaking in the mid 90s. That didn’t appear to translate into major intrastate power generation load for gas in the Lone Star State, though, as Katy was flat, the Houston Ship Channel fell about a nickel and West Texas points saw considerably larger losses.
Meanwhile, weather-based load remains negligible in the Midwest and Northeast as forecast highs from the mid 60s to the mid 70s represent virtually no heating demand and certainly no cooling load.
Desert Southwest highs in the low 90s may seem hot to many, but they actually represent subpar peak temperatures at this time of year. Lows on either side of 40 in the Rockies and parts of Western Canada likely produced just enough heating load to cause prices in those areas to be flat to up a few pennies.
A Lower Midwest utility buyer said he was “starting to see some 80s in the forecast” for next week, but for the time being highs would be pretty much in the pleasant 70s for a while longer. Even with the official start of summer only a couple of weeks away, the water in an unheated outdoor swimming pool “is still pretty chilly for my kid’s swimming team,” he said.
At present his utility is seeing “very slow” gas throughput, with almost no heating or cooling load at all, the buyer said. As a result he is making spot gas purchases only for storage injections, and “liking the price,” he added.
Although there was a large area of disturbed weather Monday north of Cuba and east of the southern end of Florida’s peninsula, the National Hurricane Center said it had no Atlantic tropical cyclones to report.
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