Price movement was minuscule either up or down from unchanged Wednesday, but the market continued to show a tendency for modest softness as moderating weather signaled the approaching end of an especially severe winter.

As expected, the previous day’s 2.9-cent gain by April futures had scant effect in supporting Wednesday’s cash prices, although quite a few points — primarily in the Northeast, where a new winter storm was arriving in coastal areas, and the Gulf Coast — were flat to up about a nickel. The Florida citygate’s spike of nearly 30 cents was something of an aberration as Florida Gas Transmission reinstated an Overage Alert Day (see Transportation Notes).

Otherwise, losses were all in single digits, ranging from 2-3 cents to a little more than a nickel.

Cash traders will continue to have positive screen guidance Thursday after prompt-month futures turned in a second straight up day with an increase of 4.9 cents Wednesday (see related story), but it remained questionable whether any cash points would be able to rise on that basis in light of forecasts of further weather moderation.

Eastern sections of the South will continue to see lows around freezing Thursday, but the region’s western end has entered a significant warming period, which will have some locations such as Houston peaking near 70 this weekend. Cold, but closer to seasonable than before, temperatures will prevail for a while longer in the Midwest and interior West.

A Midcontinent producer said his company’s processing facilities affected by a leak late last week on a ONEOK-operated natural gas liquids (NGL) line (see Daily GPI, Feb. 26), including one that had been completely shut in, were back in service. But “this really created some issues operationally and financially not only for us but others who deliver their NGLs to the ONEOK line” for redelivery into the pipeline’s fractionator at Medford, OK, he said, adding that it also happened at a time then processing fractionation spreads were peaking.

No, spring was not quite springing yet, said a utility buyer in the upper South, but the trend is there; “we can see it down the road.” Due to a meter problem, his company found that it used more storage in recent weeks than it thought, he said, but that meant mandatory withdrawal requirements in its pipeline account had already been met easily.

The National Weather Service (NWS) predicts below-normal temperatures during the March 8-12 workweek everywhere south of a line running from the northern end of California into southwestern South Dakota before curving back to the southeast through northern Georgia and the southern corner of South Carolina. The six- to 10-day forecast posted Tuesday afternoon by NWS called for above-normal readings in all of the Northeast and the eastern half of the Upper Midwest, along with much of the Pacific Northwest extending southward into central Oregon and eastward through northern Idaho into the northwestern corner of Montana.

Citi Futures Perspective analyst Tim Evans is projecting storage pulls of 150 Bcf, 130 Bcf and 80 Bcf for the weeks ending Feb. 26, March 5 and March 12, respectively.

©Copyright 2010Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The preceding news reportmay not be republished or redistributed, in whole or in part, in anyform, without prior written consent of Intelligence Press, Inc.