Other than some chill in the South, it was hard to tell where the impetus for higher numbers at most points came from Tuesday. Regardless, a large majority of the market was up as prices managed to stave off the effect of spring-like weather for at least one more day.
A few scattered points dropped 2-4 cents or so, but most locations were flat to a little more than a dime higher.
Tuesday’s cash market had essentially neutral guidance from the minuscule April future dip of less than a penny a day earlier; however, support will be substantially lower for Wednesday after the prompt-month contract declined another 4.4 cents to $4.347 Tuesday (see related story).
A major storm was departing from the Northeast, leaving behind some severe flooding but relatively moderate end-of-winter temperatures. The Weather Channel said chilly weather would continue in much of the Midwest, but most of the flooding problem in that region was receding. Sub-freezing lows were still forecast for much of Canada, but most of the West is starting to feel the warmer trends of spring.
Although she was still removing snow from her front lawn, a Midwest marketer said local weather was tending to get warmer. She professed to having no idea why prices were mostly higher Tuesday, because weather-based load didn’t seem to be that large. However, temperatures were expected to get colder again for the weekend, she said, so maybe some people were stocking up on gas supplies in advance.
The National Weather Service (NWS) predicts below-normal temperatures during the March 22-26 workweek in the South from central and southern Texas through the southern two-thirds of Georgia. In its six- to 10-day forecast posted Tuesday afternoon, the agency called for similar conditions in an arc from western Montana through northeastern Nebraska and virtually all of Iowa before sweeping back northward through most of Wisconsin. NWS also looks for above-normal temperatures in all of the Northeast except for the western sections of New York and Pennsylvania, and everywhere west of a line running southeastward from eastern Washington to western New Mexico.
Ron Denhardt of Strategic Energy & Economic Research said he projects a 21 Bcf storage withdrawal for the week ending March 12. Stephen Smith of Stephen Smith Energy Associates looks for a larger pull of 27 Bcf, which he said was reduced from an earlier estimate of 40 Bcf.
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