Chalk up another Gulf storm as more sound than fury with a onlya short-term impact on the cash market. Even as Tropical StormFrances caused heavy flooding along the Texas and Louisiana coastsFriday (preventing a number of Houston traders from getting to theoffice), prices were flat to down a nickel or so at Eastern points.Sources said much of the softness Friday, following on average10-cent increases Thursday, was based on the belief that much ofthe Gulf production losses would be moderating over the weekend.

Price drops tended to be even greater in San Juan Basin,California and the Rockies/Pacific Northwest. The SouthernCalifornia border fell steadily about a dime after starting out inthe low $2.10s, a buyer said. Even when California is warming up abit over a weekend, it doesn’t make that much difference to gasload, she said. Another source attributed a dime-plus plunge by SanJuan-Blanco to Transwestern maintenance. There is about 300 MMcf/dnot flowing out of the basin on Transwestern and all that gas istrying to get into El Paso, he said, adding, “Good luck!”

Daily GPI was able to ascertain a seriously understated stormoutage figure of more than 2.6 Bcf/d Friday, but the report wasincomplete because volumes from several pipes either wereunavailable or the Houston pipeline representative couldn’t get towork. Here were the available volumes: Transco, 1.1 Bcf/d; HIOS,420 MMcf/d; ANR (Eugene Island), 300 MMcf/d; Columbia Gulf, 250MMcf/d; Sea Robin, 150 MMcf/d; and Stingray, 420 MMcf/d. Since mostlosses were up a bit Friday, it seemed reasonable to assume thatThursday’s combined total of 390 MMcf/d for Tennessee and MOPSeither still stood or had grown. Sonat and TGT confirmed they hadnot experienced storm losses.

Most of the pipeline spokespeople believed the outages hadpeaked Friday morning and that shut-in gas would begin returning asearly as Friday night or Saturday. In fact, the KN spokesman notedStingray had regained 20 MMcf/d Friday and expected to add as muchas 200 MMcf/d more Saturday.

It was an “odd” trading session, according to a Gulf Coastmarketer. There weren’t enough people at the interstate pipelinesor at the big producer or marketing companies in Houston to conductnormal business, he said. Everyone was scheduling for the weekendas if production would be back up, but they’re sure to come backinto the office today facing big imbalances, he added.

Another trader noted that ANR-Southeast prices had been as highas the mid $1.80s earlier in the day, “but we had some lost HIOSproduction come back on-line late” and were forced to sell it at abargain-basement price of $1.75 around 11:15 CDT.

A lot of people had just started paybacks for Hurricane Earllast week when Frances put the kibosh on that idea, a Houstonsource said. For that reason he expects some rebound in Gulfpricing this week due to mounting storm imbalances.

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