As sources had predicted, Wednesday’s run-up on the Nymex screenset the stage for cash price rises Thursday, which were abetted byfurther futures gains. There was even some expected cold weatherdemand in the central and eastern sections of the U.S. to help giveprices a little boost, traders said. Increases were on the modestside, mostly within a range of 2-5 cents.

The main exceptions to overall firming were flatness in theRockies and at the Northern and Southern California borders, whilePG&E citygates constituted the sole falling market. PG&Equotes fell almost a nickel into the high $2.30s, one source said,because a “major player” on the system was cutting back volumes.That left intra-Alberta, with a gain of about C2 cents to C$1.79,and the Southwest basins, which rose 2-3 cents, as the only Westernmarket on the upswing.

Rockies gas once again is marching to a different drummer thisweek, as a marketer put it. Last week regional prices were able toresist the general downturn, and earlier this week they slippedlower even with flatness prevalent in the East. On Thursday, mostmarkets and the screen went up “and they [Rockies numbers] are flatagain,” she said. However, prices could really come off today asthe Denver area is “in for the big melt” with weekend temperaturesexpected to climb into the 60s.

A couple of traders in the Midcontinent and Gulf Coast/Northeastsaid they expect cash to rise a bit further today, based primarilyon the screen strength and colder weather due by early next week.An East Coast source said he thinks the developing coldness willlast through the rest of March.

More and more traders are switching their thinking to Aprilbusiness. One was hearing basis talk of minus 19-20 for PermianBasin and minus 23-24 for San Juan-Blanco. Some people wanted to doSouthern California border deals at a Blanco index plus 29, headded. Another source said Rockies basis has been minus 36-38.5,but those numbers might have widened even further because of thescreen upticks.

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