Swing prices continued their downhill slide Friday, succumbingto the normal drop in weekend demand, a softer screen and lack offresh storm news. Except for Midwest citygates, where a warmingtrend was developing, virtually all eastern points fell by a dimeor more. Waha and the Permian Basin also experienced dime-plusdeclines, but other western points tended to fall only a nickel orso. Sources attributed the West’s relative firmness to heavy airconditioning and agricultural load in California and other states.

Incremental activity was notably lighter for most traders asthey continued to clear out late-August positions to focus onSeptember business. However, more than one source commented on howfew bidweek deals seemed to be getting done Friday afternoon. “Themarket dried up as soon as the screen settled,” a marketer said.”It seems like everyone went home early for the weekend.” He thinksa lot of people are long basis-wise, so they will come in todaywanting to sell cash gas, “and that should take prices lower.However, with the threat of storms out there, I question just howfar the screen will let cash fall.”

Another trader had a slightly different take on expecting mostof the heavy action to take place today. “Why take a position now[Friday] when things could be radically different Monday?” heasked. A new heat wave could be on the way, possibly a newhurricane, or Hurricane Dennis might take a radical turn toward theGulf over the weekend, he suggested. (As of Friday, Dennis remainedin the area of the Bahamas and was still expected to hit theCarolinas, possibly as early as Sunday night.)

Following Thursday’s softening, there was little change Fridayin September basis or fixed prices. New baseload quotes included:Kingsgate at $2.57-58, Stanfield at $2.53-59, Malin at $2.64-66,Sumas at $2.50 and intra-Alberta throughout the C$3.40s.Intra-Alberta was down from the previous week but above deals doneearlier in the month, said the reporting marketer.

One trader said he traded Chicago at plus 5.5 basis “all dayFriday.” Another one reported Michigan basis of plus 7 forConsumers Power, plus 7.5 for MichCon and plus 12 for ANR ML-7. Hewas getting MichCon offers at $2.96 fixed but failed to take any ofthem. A third source reported basis deals at plus 23.5 for TranscoZone 6-NYC, plus 21 for Zone 6-non New York, plus 20.5-21.5 forTexas Eastern M-3, plus 7-7.75 for Niagara and plus 4-5 for Dawn.

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