Although cold weather was due to extend into the weekend in the Northeast and Midwest, its price-boosting ability was largely gone Friday. Quotes softened at most points as a warming trend began in the South and the West was fairly moderate for the most part.

The previous day’s December futures decline of 13.5 cents and the weekend loss of industrial load also played a part in prices being flat to down about 60 cents in most of the cash market. Rockies spikes handily led gains of about a nickel to just over $2 at several scattered locations.

A Rockies transportation constraint disappeared for the weekend as a scheduled Northwest pig run between the Rangely and Cisco compressor stations was scheduled for Friday only. And after spending all week with high linepack systemwide, Kern River was able to report Friday that linepack had returned to normal in all four segments.

However, after California remaining OFO-free during the morning, both of the state’s big distributors declared high-linepack OFOs for Saturday shortly after noon Pacific time, when cash trading was already finished. Once again the Northern and Southern California markets showed remarkable divergence. Malin and the PG&E citygate took big jumps of nearly 35 cents and about 60 cents, respectively. But the Southern California border sank by another half-dollar. Prior to issuing its OFO, SoCalGas revealed that it had lost 150 MMcf/d of injection capacity due to high storage field pressures (see Transportation Notes).

Florida Gas Transmission cautioned market-area customers to be aware that an Overage Alert Day might be issued due to cold weather in Florida. Indeed, freeze advisories were posted for Friday night in northern Florida, southern Georgia and some coastal sections of South Carolina.

The National Weather Service expects below-normal temperatures to cover most of the U.S. during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. In its six- to 10-day forecast posted Friday, the agency predicted such readings almost everywhere west of a line running from the southeast corner of Louisiana northeastward into upstate New York; the exceptions are the western two-thirds of California and coastal Oregon, where normal conditions are due to prevail. Normal temperatures are also forecast for the East Coast south through southern Alabama, except for above-normal readings in Florida, the southern halves of Georgia and South Carolina and the southeast corner of North Carolina.

Monday’s market will have strong prior-trading-day futures support after the December contract surprised many by rebounding 30.1 cents Friday, barely managing to close above the key psychological level of $8 (see related story).

The Northeast was where several of Friday’s gains outside the Rockies-Northern California regions were realized due to Northeast lows remaining in the 30s during the weekend. Because of this basis was very strong in the Northeast relative to Gulf Coast numbers, which mostly recorded small losses, a Northeast marketer said.

If forecasts for eastern cold sticking around into early this week hold up, the marketer said, he definitely would expect prices to rebound Monday, especially with Friday’s futures support. Referring to Thursday’s report of a small storage withdrawal, he observed that obviously storage isn’t being used very much yet. But he thinks the December aftermarket will be quite a bit weaker than November’s because the withdrawal pace will be picking up then.

Usually the big California utilities declare OFOs fairly early in the morning, a western trader said. But sometimes PG&E and SoCalGas see how nominated volumes are building up during the day and issue later OFOs, he added. Noting the PG&E OFO’s lenient imbalance tolerance of 16%, the trader said his company found it unnecessary to retrade any weekend gas because of the late OFO.

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