Excluding double-digit gains at Northeast citygates, only a few other points moved more than a dime up or down from unchanged Thursday. Friday’s low temperatures were predicted to get colder in the Midcontinent, Northeast, Midwest and Rockies, but they were often counterbalanced to some extent by forecasts of relatively moderate highs. Wednesday’s decline of 1.1 cents by March futures had scant impact in pushing the cash market either way.

A majority of points were flat to a little more than 60 cents higher; outside the Northeast the top gain was only about a dime. Losses ranged from 2-3 cents to nearly 20 cents.

The Energy Information Administration’s reported a 159 Bcf withdrawal from storage for the week ending Feb. 6. The volume was within the range of previous estimates but less than the remarkably consistent consensus expectations in the mid 160s Bcf. The response by Nymex traders was only mildly bearish as they pushed prompt-month futures 4.7 cents lower (see related story).

Gas will be traded Friday for flows through Tuesday because of the Presidents’ Day weekend.

Chances of a fairly quick return to service by the DCP Midstream East Texas Plant at the Carthage Hub brightened Thursday after the company revealed that Wednesday’s explosion and fire resulted from the rupture of a third-party pipeline outside DCP Midstream’s property line. There was no damage to the processing complex, DCP Midstream said (see related story).

However, the plant outage resulted in Carthage being very thinly traded for Friday flows. NGI received only four quotes there Thursday, way down from the 66 Carthage deals reported a day before. The point fell about 30 cents in Thursday’s second largest loss.

Sub-freezing lows in the teens and 20s will be common Friday from the Northeast through the Midcontinent/Midwest into the Rockies. The South is expected to get a little cooler but will remain well above the freezing level. Except for frigid conditions in the Rockies and Western Canada (where Calgary is forecast to see a low around zero Friday), the West is due to range from chilly in the Pacific Northwest and Northern California to cool in the Southwest and Southern California.

In spite of Western Canada’s severe cold, quotes fell nearly C10 cents at both NOVA Inventory Transfer and Westcoast Station 2.

The Chicago citygate recorded one of the few losses of more than a dime. The city was forecast to bottom out around 27 Friday but peak in the mid 40s, according to Madison, WI-based Weather Central.

The Northeast market has been stronger this week than he had expected based on last week’s forecasts, said one trader. Because of regional forecasts calling for continued cold weather in the region, he looks for prices to be only “a tad softer” for the holiday weekend.

A Texas marketer agreed with the softness prediction but said that although Northeast citygate numbers may hold up more firmly than others, he expects most if not all quotes elsewhere to fall quite a bit more than “a tad.”

An Upper Midwest marketer said her area was experiencing date-specific record-setting high temperatures in the 50s only a couple of days earlier, “and now it’s in the 30s.” She is hopeful that the warmer weather now occupying the South will be spreading north fairly soon. If the groundhog’s prediction is right, it was fine with her to have spring begin around mid-March because at times in the past the actual milder spring weather hasn’t arrived until May.

The marketer said her company has been buying spot gas in the last couple of days because it went into the month light on baseload in anticipation of such low-demand periods as the first half of this week.

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