A majority of the cash market was firmer again Wednesday despite still having little in the way of weather-based demand, but at least this time it could claim the support of a 21.7-cent advance by November futures the day before. Tuesday’s mostly higher numbers had defied a weaker prior-day screen.

Losses of a little less than a nickel to about 90 cents were exceptions to the overall price strength, and all but one (Transwestern-West Texas) occurred in the Midcontinent and Rockies. Wednesday’s gains ranged from about a nickel to about 45 cents, and except for being largest in West Texas and Western Canada, they were distributed fairly evenly among geographic regions.

Cash prices will continue to have substantive futures support after the November gas contract rose another 29 cents Wednesday in a disconnect from weaker crude oil prices (see related story).

Northern Natural’s demarc and Ventura trading points posted gains that ran counter to the general Midcontinent weakness because they have a fairly strong amount of heating load in their Upper Midwest market area, where overnight lows are around 40 degrees or so.

A new and moderately bullish factor for the market is the fact that the pace of restoring Gulf of Mexico (GOM) hurricane-related shut-ins is even slower than previously indicated.

Many likely were taken aback when Minerals Management Service (MMS) reported 3,532 MMcf/d in remaining GOM production outages Wednesday, which seemingly was an “increase” of 148 MMcf/d from Tuesday. However, MMS explained that some operators had failed to report their shut-ins Monday and Tuesday, which made the numbers for those days inaccurate. “Due to the nature of the calculations, the statistics from those two days will not be recalculated,” MMS said (see related story).

Almost no cooling load remains outside the desert Southwest and, to a lesser degree, the western end of the South. Highs limited to the low to mid 70s Thursday in eastern sections of the South will be well below seasonal norms.

A modicum of heating demand will continue near the Canadian border in the Northeast and Midwest, but for the most part temperatures in those regions are ranging from comfortable to merely chilly.

Besides the desert Southwest, the West recently could count on fairly significant cooling load at inland California locations, but no longer. That area will be limited to peak temperatures in the low to mid 80s Thursday. And the Pacific Northwest can expect a storm from the Pacific Ocean to end late-summer warmth west of the Cascades Thursday, according to The Weather Channel.

Tropical Storm Laura lost its tropical characteristics Wednesday as it moved over the cold waters of the North Atlantic east of Newfoundland, the National Hurricane Center said. The agency said it had posted its final advisory on the storm.

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