Cash prices shrugged off the previous day’s screen drop of 11.7 cents and slightly receding cooling load and instead focused on the modest increase of potential in a tropical storm named Alex reaching the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) production area as they recorded gains at virtually all points Wednesday.

A large majority of numbers that ranged from flat to nearly 30 cents higher were in single digits. The Rockies captured the lion’s share of biggest gains as more parts of that region were joining Denver in forecasts of peak temperatures around 90 or greater. Emerson, down a little less than a nickel, saw the day’s only loss.

Despite weakness in Nymex’s petroleum product markets, July natural gas futures eked out a mild rally of 4.8 cents (see related story).

After downgrading development chances of a tropical wave in the central Caribbean Sea to 20% Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) revised that to 30% Wednesday for what it was calling “an elongated area of disturbed weather” extending from eastern Cuba and Jamaica eastward across Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) to Puerto Rico and adjacent waters of the northern Caribbean. “Upper-level winds still appear conducive for some slow development as the system moves westward or west-northwestward around 10 mph over the next day or two,” NHC said. That track would keep the system headed toward the GOM.

Except for increased warming in the Rockies, climate conditions are gradually growing a little more bearish for the gas market. Although the Phoenix area is still expected to hit the 110 area Thursday, most of the rest of the southern U.S. is seeing peak forecasts recede into the low to mid 90s, while the 80s and occasionally 70s are due in other areas.

Florida citygate quotes, which had seen a steep slide in recent days from the market’s highest levels after Florida Gas Transmission ended a series of Overage Alert Days (OAD) during the weekend, were on the ascent again after the pipeline cautioned market-area customers of a potential new OAD due to forecasts of Florida highs in the 90s for the next several days.

Although El Paso said its linepack had returned to normal Wednesday, excess supply issues continued to emerge in the West as PG&E declared a high-inventory OFO (see Transportation Notes). Despite the OFO, PG&E citygate and Malin prices rose slightly by either side of a nickel.

There is sunshine but cool temperatures in Northern California, a western trader said. And noting that SoCalGas storage facilities were already 88% full early in the injection season, he found it difficult to justify the higher prices in the West. Nobody wants to supply the region these days, he said; there’s not much weather-based demand and storage refills are already bountiful.

It’s “a little warm but not terribly hot,” a Midwest marketer said of her area. Forecasts of continuing thunderstorms should keep temperatures fairly comfortable into the weekend, she said, but her company is still buying a little spot gas each day for clients such as hospitals with cooling demand.

In its six- to 10-day forecast posted Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service (NWS) predicts above-normal temperatures during the June 28-July 2 period in the central U.S. between a line running south from western Montana to southeast California and another one from West Texas through the northwest corner of Georgia before turning northward into the western corner of New York. NWS forecasts below-normal readings only in the Florida peninsula and the western halves of Washington and Oregon along with the northwestern corner of California.

Teri Viswanath of Credit Suisse said she expected an 84 Bcf storage injection to be reported for the week ending June 18, slightly higher than other analysts’ estimates of 80 Bcf.

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