Generally, conditions are not as cold as they will get later in the week, but prices found enough demand for heating purposes to record gains at a sizeable majority of points Monday. The restoration of industrial load following its usual weekend dip was an additional, albeit minor, price booster. Mixed price moves were dominated by flat to about 30 cents higher numbers, with all of the double-digit gains confined to the Rockies and Northeast.
Scattered losses ranging from 2-3 cents to about 15 cents were primarily concentrated in California, the desert Southwest (deliveries), Western Canada and Pacific Northwest.
After two days of essentially neutral screen guidance for next-day cash trading, Nymex traders are providing slightly more negative signals for Tuesday by pushing prompt-month futures barely lower by 3.1 cents (see related story).
Rockies producers got the welcome news that Ruby Pipeline had been able to make limited deliveries Sunday and by Monday was able to provide flows exceeding its firm contracted capacity, allowing cancellation of the associated force majeure (see Transportation Notes).
Line 300 in Tennessee’s Zone 4 continued to lag well behind the Northeast norm with numbers averaging a little under $3. Nearly all other Tennessee points in Zones 4-6 handily surpassed $3 by well over a dollar. Tennessee had expected to complete repairs of a unit at Station 323 in Zone 4 over the weekend, but startup issues extended the anticipated return to service until Wednesday (see Transportation Notes).
Transco and Algonquin provided signals of colder weather approaching their Northeast market areas. Algonquin continues to require shippers to either stay in balance or run positive imbalances. Meanwhile, Transco said the force majeure failure in early December of its mainline “C” in rural Alabama was negatively impacting its system operating flexibility, and that will be exacerbated by the forecast arrival of colder weather later this week and into the weekend throughout its market area.
Following Henry Hub’s maintaining a premium of 10-12 cents or so over CIG for most of last week, the Rockies pipe ran about a penny or two above the hub Monday.
El Paso said linepack had returned to normal after being high going into the weekend. However, Kern River reported linepack trending toward undesirably high levels.
What The Weather Channel called a “messy storm” and cold front were occupying large parts of the South Monday and were due to head eastward Tuesday. Midwest lows will continue to range from slightly above freezing to as cold as the low 20s. Most residents of the West can expect the continuation of chilly to frigid weather.
The Northern Natural Gas bulletin board illustrated the relatively moderate conditions being seen by its Upper Midwest market area on the verge of winter. Saying the normal system-weighted temperature at this time of year is 19 degrees, the posting projected averages of 25 Monday rising to 26 Tuesday and 30 Wednesday before sinking back to 22 — still above normal — Thursday.
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