With even higher temperatures still to come, prices skyrocketed by more than a dollar at Northeast citygates Wednesday while considerably more modest gains permeated the rest of the market.
Hot forecasts propelled the cash market higher at nearly all points, but most of the gains outside the Northeast were relatively small in single digits. But with New York City anticipating highs around 100 degrees by the end of the week, it was clear that Northeast traders were stocking up in advance as dollar-plus increases dominated and some of the top quotes exceeded $8. Transco’s Zone 6-New York pool averaged more than $9 and was king of the price hill with a peak quote at $10.50.
Small losses of up to about C5 cents were limited to Western Canada. Otherwise, there were several flat locations amid a general upturn ranging from 2-3 cents to about $2.40.
In sharp contrast to the New York pool, Transco numbers in the non-New York portion of Zone 6 only rose by about a quarter into the upper $5.30s.
Following a slightly negative performance in a 1.3-cent drop Tuesday, August futures will have a bit more bearish guidance for Thursday’s cash market after the contract fell another 3.3 cents (see related story).
Despite the hot forecasts, Tennessee remained the only major pipeline into the Northeast with actions in place to prevent low linepack, although Maritimes & Northeast U.S. was encouraging shippers to run positive imbalances if feasible (see Transportation Notes).
Since Jan 1, 2010, there hasn’t been a period when a majority of pipelines in the U.S. and Canada traded above $8 simultaneously. During that time only 13 of the pricing points monitored by NGI have surpassed $8 at all, and those points did it at different times. The most recent time for any location to trade above $8 was on March 2 for March 3 flow, when the Northeast points of the Algonquin citygate, Dracut, Iroquois-Waddington, Tennessee Zone 6 and Texas Eastern M-3 all traded between $8.67 and $10.49.
Tropical Storm Bret continued to move northeastward far off the Mid-Atlantic coast, where it was expected to weaken over the cool North Atlantic waters. Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center christened a new tropical storm in the central Atlantic as Cindy, but said it was destined to remain an open-water system as it also was moving toward the northeast.
Some parts of the Midwest and Rockies will be cooling a little Thursday, but for most of the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. the weather watchwords remain “hot — VERY hot!” Highs from the low 90s through the upper 100s will be in vogue from Eastern Canada and the U.S. East Coast through the Rockies, leaving the West Coast, Pacific Northwest and Western Canada as the only areas with still-mild weather.
Westcoast said linepack had returned to desired levels after a lengthy period of being too high. However, Westcoast Station 2 recorded Wednesday’s largest drop of about C5 cents as Pacific Northwest demand stayed light due to mild temperatures and a continuation of abundant hydropower.
As Tennessee works to relieve capacity constraints on its 300 Leg that moves gas from the Marcellus Shale area into the Northeast (see related story), NGI price records show that since the June 8 trade date Tennessee Zone 4 numbers (upstream from the Marcellus constraints) have fallen from an average of $5.07 to $4.48 Tuesday. That latest quote was 12 cents below the Henry Hub. In the same period downstream market-area Tennessee Zone 6 averages have risen a bit from $5.94 to $6.01 Tuesday.
A utility buyer in the South said it was nice not to have any transport problems on the pipelines. His company remained on target with refilling storage, he said, and it was buying only about half of the injection volumes it had been procuring prior to July since accounts were getting close to full. Baseload supplies fulfill most injection needs, he added, supplemented with a little spot gas every now and then.
IAF Advisors analyst Kyle Cooper anticipates a storage injection of 54 Bcf being reported for the week ending July 15. Societe Generale’s Laurent Key had a larger estimate of a 60 Bcf build.
Tim Evans of Citi Futures Perspective weighed in with a much larger 72 Bcf projection, which he expected to be followed by storage additions of 52 Bcf, 47 Bcf and 51 Bcf for the weeks ending July 22, July 29 and Aug. 5, respectively.
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