April swing prices showed even more strength Wednesday than theyhad in Tuesday’s trading for April Fool’s Day flow. Double-digitincreases were the order of the day at almost trading point.However, it appeared that numbers may have peaked for now sincesources reported that late deals were falling in most markets.That portends softening quotes today, they said.

With no immediate weather in sight, traders agreed that onceagain the cash increases were based mostly on a futures run-up. Itwas like a game of follow the leader, a marketer said. “The screengoes up, so then cash goes up; then the screen falls, and cashdecides to fall too,” she said.

Although several Texas points rose into the $2.40s, there isn’tthat much air conditioning load in the state, a producer said. At acertain point Wednesday the Texas pipes got full and prices startedfalling back immediately, he added. He saw NGPL-TexOk deals dropsteadily from a high of $2.45 down to $2.38.

LDCs came out swinging, looking for storage packages, a GulfCoast producer said. Now the big question for them becomes whetherto continue to buy storage gas at almost $2.50. “They could looklike geniuses in three months if the price rockets to $3,” he said.”So much for April being a shoulder month. Now it’s like the summermonths are the shoulder months.”

Chicago citygates saw one of the day’s bigger gains of fifteencents into the mid to high $2.50s. That “finally” made thetransport from NGPL’s TexOk pool to Chicago work again, a marketersaid.

A Northeastern utility said it was in a gas-selling modeWednesday and “making a nice profit at these prices.” Areacitygates were mostly in the mid $2.60s.

Intra-Alberta quotes broke above the C$2 level for the firsttime in many months. In addition to NOVA maintenance constraintscited by sources, California-bound capacity was getting tight.PG&E Gas Transmission-Northwest (formerly PGT) reported only 25MMcf/d of available capacity Wednesday at Kingsgate, a point thatusually has a cushion of 100-200 MMcf/d in available space.

El Paso’s lifting of an Unauthorized Overpull Penalty alert hadno immediate effect on Permian and San Juan prices, but later theysuccumbed to the general screen-based softening, one source said.Another thought cold weather in California along with theconstraints on Canadian exports gave a lift to prices in theSouthwest basins and in the Rockies, which surpassed $2 in somequotes.

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