Most of the cash market continued to rise Wednesday, but by notably smaller amounts than the day before. With heat levels greatly increasing in much of the West, particularly in inland California, Rockies gas found enough cooling load to arrest its recent slide into sub-$1 averages and cause large rebounds.
The overall gains were propelled largely by the screen’s 21.3-cent increase on Tuesday and to a lesser degree by power generation demand for air conditioning purposes. Midwest citygates joined in the overall firmness despite forecasts of Thursday’s highs slipping into the mid 70s and upper 70s in Chicago and Detroit, respectively.
Most points ranged from flat to nearly a quarter higher. The Florida citygate recorded a much bigger increase of about 75 cents as Florida Gas Transmission kept an Overage Alert Day in place at least through Wednesday. And the Rockies stood out from the rest of the market with gains that ran from nearly 80 cents to about $1.35.
Cheyenne Hub, which had contrasted sharply from the rest of the Rockies with a $2.27 spike Tuesday, again was the odd point out Wednesday, but this time it was due to a loss of $1.50 or so. And thanks to falling temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and Thursday’s end of an outage between Stations 1 and 2 on the Westcoast system (making more supply available), Sumas dropped about a dime. The end of the outage also caused Westcoast Station 2 to fall about C4 cents, but the point still maintained an unusual premium of about C45 cents to NOVA Inventory Transfer.
Shippers on PG&E’s California Gas Transmission system are used to dealing with high-inventory OFOs, but for Thursday’s gas day they must supply enough gas to avoid running afoul of a relatively rare low-inventory OFO (see Transportation Notes). Triple-digit high temperatures in inland California have increased power generation load tremendously. Heat advisories were issued for six counties in Southern California.
The OFO had relatively limited impact on prices, however, as increases at Malin and the PG&E citygate were on either side of a dime.
Two areas in the Atlantic are being monitored for tropical development, The Weather Channel (TWC) said. An area of low pressure a couple of hundred miles southeast of the Carolinas coast was producing showers and storms over the Gulf Stream. Upper level conditions currently are not favorable for further development, but the low is expected to linger off the coast for the several days and drift southward, allowing conditions to become more conducive” for strengthening, TWC said. And a low-pressure center about halfway between the Windward Islands and West Africa is moving westward into an area more favorable for development, and could become a tropical depression within the next day or so, the forecaster added.
There is a lot of gas chasing a limited market, a Midcontinent producer said, but he was not sure if prices will be down Thursday or not.
A Midwest utility buyer had no doubts: spot prices will soften Thursday, she said, noting the general weakness of weather fundamentals and the negative guidance that the cash market will have from Wednesday’s futures softness. It was still humid in her area but noticeably cooler, she added.
The buyer said her company had completed its September baseload shopping late last week, buying packages at Northern Natural-Ventura at index plus 3 cents and at Northern Natural-demarc at a fixed price of $5.18. She regretted not waiting until this week to make the purchases at lower prices.
Sizeable drops in first-of-month indexes can be expected after the September futures contract went off the board Wednesday falling 16.3 cents to $5.430, which is 68 cents less than the August settlement.
A survey of 23 industry players found an average expectation of a 42 Bcf addition to storage during the week ending Aug. 24, Reuters said. Estimates ranged from 25 Bcf to 58 Bcf, the news service added.
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