A low-pressure system in the eastern Gulf of Mexico was upgraded to Subtropical Depression 10 Friday morning and subsequently to Tropical Depression 10 (TD10), but it was becoming more and more apparent that the system posed little or no threat to offshore production facilities. That was reflected both by prices continuing to fall at nearly all points Friday and by announcements that some evacuated workers were already starting to return to their platforms and mobile rigs that afternoon.
The Rockies market again was having much the worst of it amid overall losses ranging from 2-3 cents to about 60 cents. Low quotes of 10-15 cents showed up Friday at three Rockies points, although Cheyenne Hub was the only one to average less than a dollar.
Mixed price movement continued as a number of scattered points were flat to about a quarter higher. Saturday forecasts of high temperatures around 90 in Florida caused Florida Gas Zone 3 and the Florida citygate to see the biggest upticks of about a quarter and a dime, respectively.
Besides the diminished storm threat, Friday’s overall softness was attributable to relatively modest cooling load in most areas, the previous day’s 17.2-cent slide by futures and the decline of industrial demand associated with a weekend. Even the desert Southwest is becoming much less of the nation’s “hot spot” than previously. Phoenix, which was still experiencing triple-digit highs as last week began, cooled sufficiently to have a peak of 88 degrees forecast for Saturday.
An AccuWeather meteorologist repeated an NGI market source’s Thursday characterization of the storm as a “nuisance” (see Daily GPI, Sept. 21) in downplaying its danger because it was staying too close to the Florida Panhandle’s coast to have much chance of developing further (see related story). However, gas shut-ins reported to Minerals Management Service nearly doubled to 2,371 MMcf/d.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) projected that TD10 would come ashore (possibly as Tropical Storm Jerry) near Mobile, AL, sometime late Friday night or early Saturday and fizzle out over east-central Louisiana early Sunday. At 4 p.m. CDT Friday its center was about 65 miles southeast of Pensacola, FL, and moving west-northwestward at about 9 mph. Maximum sustained winds were nearly 35 mph, the threshold for tropical storm designation, NHC said.
Shell said that given Friday’s latest forecast for TD10, “we’re beginning to redeploy personnel to facilities in areas not expected to be impacted by the system. As part of remanning our facilities, we anticipate production ramp-up will begin late today [Friday] and continue over the next several days.” The Transocean drilling company was among other interests reported to have started sending workers offshore again.
Cheyenne Plains Gas Pipeline is having success with its efforts to improve throughput after a total outage last Sunday and most of Monday (see related story).
An Upper Midwest marketer thought it was “hot” in her area Friday with thermometer readings peaking around 85 degrees. However, a utility buyer in the Lower Midwest was experiencing the same type of warmth, yet he considered it “nice.” In fact, local weather was so “nice” that his company had spot gas to sell Friday from an excess arriving through summer term and monthly baseload contracts. The buyer said he hadn’t turned on his air conditioner at home since a warm day in the previous week, and the utility had “almost no incremental” power generation load.
He reported observing an unusually small amount being traded at ANR-Southwest Friday, which he surmised was due to people trying to avoid the point because of restrictions on deliveries from Cheyenne Plains. He also noted that “my calendar says” the official transition to autumn would occur Sunday.
The buyer said he had “pretty much wrapped up my bidweek trading already,” with only a small volume left to pick up this week. Nearly all of his deals were done at index plus half a cent, he said.
The number of drilling rigs actively seeking natural gas in the United States took a big drop of 25 to 1,458 during the week ending Sept. 21, according to the Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Count (https://intelligencepress.com/features/bakerhughes/). The count fell by 15 onshore and by 10 in the Gulf of Mexico, Baker Hughes said. The latest total is down 2% from a month ago but up 1% from last year, it added.
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