Transco Zone 6’s New York pool topped out at $13 and averaged nearly $12 Friday amid mixed price movement in most regions as traders kept in mind that the Sunday-through-Tuesday flows covered by their deals would be accompanied by the advent of frigid weather in much of the East. Several other Northeast points had peak quotes of $10 or more.

There were several multi-dollar spikes in the Northeast as overall gains ranged from a mere 2-3 cents to about $8.20. A modest majority of locations, including a few in the Northeast, were flat to nearly 15 cents lower. Most of the larger losses were in western markets, where relatively moderate temperatures are forecast to contrast with the eastern cold.

Although the extra heating load expected in the first half of this week is likely to boost most points Tuesday, it will be without any screen support. Prompt-month futures closed below $3 for the first time in more than two years as the January contract fell 3.8 cents to $2.989 (see related story).

Zone 6-NY had been lagging behind the Algonquin citygate for highest pricing earlier in the week, but Friday it skyrocketed by a whopping $8.20 or so into the $11.80s to claim the top spot.

Texas Eastern was joined by affiliates Algonquin and Maritimes & Northeast, along with Transco (see Transportation Notes), in trying to discourage shippers from running negative imbalances due to approaching frigid conditions in their Northeast market area.

On the other side of the coin, excessive linepack prompted El Paso to declare a Strained Operating Condition on its system.

The National Weather Service’s six- to 10-day forecast sees below-normal temperatures receding toward the East Coast in the latter half of this week while above-normal readings in the West expand their reach into the central U.S.

While denying possession of a crystal ball, a Rockies producer said he expected the cash market to be weak at least through the first half of 2012. About the only positive notes he saw for gas prices were how much new Environmental Protection Agency rules on air pollution would cause displacement of obsolete coal-fired generation by gas units, and Bentek Energy predicting a weak hydropower year in the West following a couple of strong ones.

For now the outlook is rather bleak for gas markets, the producer said. “You can’t really get by on $3 gas if you’re not hedged.” For now it’s still cold in the Rockies, but not abnormally so, he said, and the Denver area should be reaching highs in the 60s early this week.

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