Despite turning downward again Friday, the screen’s uptick of nearly 15 cents the day before had a residual supportive effect for Friday’s cash prices in eastern and Permian/Waha markets. They ranged from flat at a couple of Northeast points to 15 cents or so higher (Gulf South was a rare softer point in Louisiana), with most gains between a nickel and a dime. Most western points declined by various amounts ranging from small to huge.

The big story was the crash-and-burn action at the PG&E citygate. “Holy smokes, what a day!” exclaimed one trader. A systemwide high-linepack OFO with zero tolerance for positive imbalances (see Transportation Notes) had everybody running scared, he said, resulting in a citygate plunge of more than $2 to an average in the high $4.20s. Friday, July 14, 2000, when weekend prices averaged $4.19, was the last time the citygate has averaged less than last Friday.

Temperatures have started cooling down again in California, so PG&E’s core load for the weekend was off substantially, an aggregator noted. Some gas-fired power generation was offline in the state, he said, so power prices actually were up a bit. He quoted them around $400/MWh for today.

For a change Malin tended to move in tandem with the citygate as a one-day constraint Friday at PG&E GT-NW’s Station 14 ended. Malin was down nearly $2, and border-PG&E quotes dropped more than $2. Border-SoCalGas prices also weakened, but to a much lesser extent, falling only about 40 cents.

There was just no place for gas to go on PG&E GT-NW with such a tight-fisted OFO, so that was backing up supplies into Alberta, a marketer said, quoting intra-Alberta numbers falling into the C$5.70s.

Sources still considered the moderate eastern firmness merely transitory and predicted that the general May softness will resume this week. Weather and storage fundamentals continue to hold little promise for a major price rebound through the near-term future, they said. The screen possibly could show a mild upward blip again once or twice, a trader said, but it would be unlikely to influence cash to follow.

Producers may view current fundamentals as negative, according to one marketer, “but they’re pretty good fundamentals as far as we buyers are concerned.”

Some of Friday’s bigger rises of more than a dime occurred at Midwest citygates, where a slow-moving cold front dominated the climate. It was really a big switch in Michigan, where temperatures in the low 80s Thursday had yielded to the low 50s Friday, said one Midwest source.

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