Most of the cash market was softer Friday, but it had a few flat to moderately higher points in the mix. A prior-day screen increase and some instances of rising cooling load were outweighed by a significant weekend cooldown in the Northeast and the drop in industrial load that typically accompanies a weekend. Also, excess supply issues were accumulating in the West, where many of the largest losses were recorded.
The majority declines ranged from a couple of pennies to about a quarter, while the upticks (not counting flat points) ranged from about a nickel to a little more than 15 cents.
A couple of sources had expected Thursday’s 6.4-cent increase in June futures to be enough support for modest gains in most of the cash market Friday, but it didn’t work out that way. However, a further 17.5-cent gain tacked on by the screen Friday, largely in sympathy with a crude oil futures spike that fell just shy of $2/bbl, may lay the groundwork for a potential cash rally Monday in combination with forecasts of hotter weather this week.
Florida Gas Zone 3 led the gainers with an uptick of more than 15 cents despite Florida Gas Transmission lifting an Overage Alert Day for its market area.
The Southern California border had remained surprisingly firm earlier in the week in the face of a continuing high-linepack OFO by SoCalGas, but fell about 15 cents Friday as the distributor extended the OFO into at least its 11th consecutive day Saturday. And Kern River, which had reported low linepack levels in three segments as recently as Wednesday, said it had returned to high linepack systemwide Friday.
The hurricane front remained quiet, but stay tuned. Last year the first Atlantic tropical storm, Arlene, formed on June 9, which was unusually early in the season. Tropical Storm Adrian had formed in mid-May on the Pacific side of Central America and managed to cross the isthmus into the southern Caribbean but never posed any threat to Gulf of Mexico production.
The Northeast was due to feel unseasonably cool temperatures over the weekend in the wake of a cold front, with Boston possibly not getting above the upper 50s Saturday and Sunday, according to The Weather Channel (TWC). A cold front also was cooling off the eastern end of the South, although more seasonal temperatures were starting to return at the western end as a series of heavy thunderstorms that had plagued the Texas Gulf Coast earlier in the week departed. Conditions five to 20 degrees above average (90s and low 100s) would be in place over the southern Plains by the end of the weekend, TWC said.
Weather was expected to range from moderate in most of the Midwest to five to 20 degrees above normal west of the Mississippi Valley. The West was due to range from cool to chilly in the Pacific Northwest to typically scorching in the desert Southwest.
It’s cooling off “a lot” in the Northeast, said a marketer in the region. Power generators didn’t want any gas for current burn, he said, but he suspected they were packing the pipes a little bit over the weekend in anticipation of another splash of heat this week. Dracut was trading a bit higher than it might have otherwise because of a Sable Offshore Energy Project that would add compression to its processing facilities, but was having little market impact otherwise, he said.. The SOEP outage was scheduled to begin Friday evening and run through June 7 (see Daily GPI, June 1).
The weather was “looking good” in the Midwest Friday, and what’s nice for people is bearish for gas prices, observed a marketer. Temperatures were due to rise into the 80s this week, but would be pleasant in the 70s over the weekend, she said. She considered the oil futures spike that helped lift the natural gas screen “much ado about nothing.”
Reflecting Thursday’s strong pricing, flows were markedly higher Friday at Transco Zone 6-NYC (up 174 MMcf/d from Thursday), the Chicago cityage (up 225 MMcf/d), the Southern California border (up 258 MMcf/d) and the PG&E citygate (up 206 MMcf/d), according to analysis of pipeline flows by Bentek Energy. Several other points Bentek monitors showed only modest volume gains, while it recorded decreases at points such as Transco Station 65, Tennessee Zone 0, MichCon, Opal (biggest drop of 81 MMcf/d) and Sumas.
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