Largely due to the previous day’s futures drop of nearly 31 cents, cash prices were down at most points Wednesday. The setbacks occurred despite gradually rising cooling load in the Northeast and in some parts of the South. Flat to about 40 cents higher quotes at several points, primarily in the Rockies, extended mixed price movement for another day.
Losses ranged from a little more than a Canadian nickel at NOVA Inventory Transfer to a little more than US35 cents.
Tropical Storm Chantal, already dismissed as a nonevent Tuesday, faded further from the picture Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Chantal was quickly becoming extratropical as it continued to head northeastward into the North Atlantic. The agency filed its final report on the storm at 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday.
However, a system approaching the Windward Islands was becoming of increasing interest to gas traders. The Weather Channel referred to it as a tropical wave, but NHC only called it a “low.” The low was scheduled to be investigated by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft Wednesday afternoon. NHC said the area had gotten a little better organized Wednesday, although conditions still did not favor much development.
The Florida citygate was flat, but Florida Gas Zones 1, 2 and 3 in the production area were down in spite of Florida Gas Transmission extending an Overage Alert Day and tightening its imbalance tolerance (see Transportation Notes).
A Houston-based marketer said he didn’t expect the tropical wave to affect Gulf of Mexico production. Most of his company’s forecaster’s models have it going into either South or Central America, he said. Only one model has it crossing Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, which would bring it into Gulf but also weaken it along the way, he said.
Just as screen weakness Tuesday was able to pull cash quotes down Wednesday, the 16.1-cent rebound by September futures Wednesday will result in higher cash market numbers Thursday, the marketer added.
There’s no weather and no OFOs in the West, said a regional trader, so “it’s very quiet.” Referring to the low-pressure area moving toward the eastern end of the Caribbean, she said a trading counterparty had joked that the “tropical storms are starting to get organized after a strike” earlier in the season. “This market is so jumpy, traders look for any hint of something new to move prices,” she went on.
It took forever for the western market to react to Wednesday’s screen strength, the trader said. For example, futures moved 15 cents higher in a short time, while the PG&E citygate only moved half a penny in the same period, she said. For now, the overall market is “waiting for the weather shoe to drop” in the form of heat and/or tropical storm activity, she added.
A Midcontinent producer agreed that cash prices should see a rebound Thursday due to a combination of heat, the futures rally and the potential for development of a tropical depression near the Caribbean Sea. Not much was happening in the Midcontinent Wednesday, he said, adding that with Oklahoma cloudy and still peaking in the low 90s, temperatures are “definitely” normal to below normal for this time of year.
He noted that his region has had a “very mild summer” so far. “Most local weather guys are now saying we won’t hit 100” after having 26 days above 100 last summer, he said.
Bentek Energy predicted that a 74 Bcf addition to storage will be reported Thursday morning for the week ending July 27. Reuters said its survey of 24 industry players found an average expectation of a 73 Bcf increase. The estimates ranged from 55 Bcf to 82 Bcf, the news service said.
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