Cash prices hinted Thursday that they’re not ready to settleinto the same kind of stagnation period that characterized much ofFebruary’s activity. Riding the momentum of a rising Henry Hubfutures contract, stronger crude oil futures (back over $13/bbl)and snowy weather in various regions, nearly all points roseanywhere from 2 cents to a dime with most increases in the vicinityof a nickel.

Flatness in the California market was the only notable exceptionto the overall firming. PG&E did not extend a low-inventory OFObeyond Thursday.

Let’s hope the price upticks made producers a little happier, aMidwest trader said. “Maybe this is ‘March Madness’ for them,” hequipped.

Some may argue that the Wednesday afternoon storage report hadalready been factored into the market, but one source suggested the128 Bcf withdrawal figure might have seemed bullish enough to someto encourage higher prices Thursday.

“Chicago was dead” with hardly any buyers around, said amarketer who still managed to make a sale into the NI-Gas system at$1.73.

Relatively high prices for Columbia-Appalachian pool gas havemade TGT about the only pipe delivering gas economically to theCincinnati and Dayton areas in Ohio these days, a trader said. Hedid TGT Zone 4 (Ohio citygate) deals at $1.83-84, just barely aboveTCO numbers in the low $1.80s.

Sumas and Northwest-domestic prices began a converging trendfollowing a period in which the Canadian export point traded at anunusual premium of more than a dime over the U.S. product due toNorthwest’s rupture last week. Sumas was falling off to $1.57-58 inlate deals Wednesday while domestic quotes rose to $1.54, alsolate. Traders apparently were looking ahead to reestablishment ofNorthwest’s mainline link between the south and north ends througha temporary 16-inch bypass of the rupture site (see TransportationNotes), although the temporary pipe is not expected to startservice until Sunday, sources said.

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