Much of the North American market seemed to be joining theCanadians in still being on holiday Tuesday. In very subduedactivity scattered points (mostly in the California/PacificNorthwest region) registered upticks, but most ranged from mildlysofter to down as much as about $3.50 at the Chicago citygate.

“It’s tough to do business” with so many people out of theoffice, a large aggregator said. Besides, he added, many deals donelast Thursday or Friday were for flow through today.

Although the Midwest will remain under freezing conditions atleast through today, moderating weather forecasts in theMidcontinent were responsible for a couple of OFOs being eitheralready lifted or due for cancellation (see Transportation Notes).That resulted in some of Tuesday’s larger declines occurring in theMidcontinent/Midwest, although Michigan citygates were on eitherside of flat.

Wellhead freeze-offs weren’t much of an issue after all. AHouston-based marketer said there were none in his South Texas andEast Texas trading areas. A Midwestern trader reported “a couple offreeze-off incidents, but they were no big deal. We lost a town of500 people for a little while, but then got them right back up.”

Though many utilities were taking off Tuesday, most had skeletoncrews on duty in the gas supply departments, several traders said.One marketer commented, “I was looking for some intraday demand,but none came along. That meant the utilities did a good job ofprojecting their gas needs” on Thursday and/or Friday.

The Northeast will continue to see frigid weather this week, butany demand boost from that is being reduced by industrial shutdownsbetween the Christmas and New Year’s holiday weekend, one sourcenoted.

Bidweek business was even quieter than the swing market, “ifthat’s possible,” said a Texas trader. Nobody is interested yet inJanuary fixed prices, he said; almost everything is associated withbasis or indexes so far. Another trader said he was rolling oversome evergreen contracts that end Dec. 31 since he hadn’t gottenany notice that the counterparties wanted to cancel them. And aNortheast marketer expects to do little if any baseload trading,saying, “I’ll hang on to my transport and use it in the [January]day market.”

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