Although temperatures are rising in much of the West, they were diminishing in sections of the South, and despite chilly conditions lingering for at least another day or so in the Midwest, the region is due to see a warming trend toward the weekend. The modestly bearish weather influences, which reversed marginal support for Tuesday’s cash market, combined with the 3.1-cent fall by October futures Tuesday to drive quotes lower at a large majority of points Wednesday.
Most of the market recorded declines of 2-3 cents to a little more than a dime, with nearly all of them in single digits. A few scattered locations were flat to about C15 cents higher. Somewhat improbably, Westcoast Station 2 led the gains despite the pipeline reporting high linepack for a third straight day.
The low end of Line 300 quotes in Tennessee’s Zone 4 dipped even lower to $1.25 as Marcellus Shale production continued to overwhelm the line’s takeaway capacity.
Negative futures influence on next-day cash trading increased as the prompt-month contract fell another 6.8 cents (see related story).
A low-pressure area in the south-central Atlantic quickly progressed through tropical depression status to become designated as Tropical Storm Ophelia late Tuesday. It was too early to tell if Ophelia might reach the Gulf of Mexico or instead follow Hurricane Maria’s northward path well off the East Coast. National Hurricane Center (NHC) projects had the system passing to the north of the upper Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico within a few days, when further indications of its eventual tracking were likely to become clearer.
Meanwhile, Ophelia was joined Wednesday by a small area of low pressure above the northern Leeward Islands, but NHC accorded it near-zero odds of development.
Mild temperatures will remain the status quo Thursday for the Northeast. Some Texas locations will continue to see low 90s highs along with Florida in the South, but other parts of Texas are starting to join Oklahoma with highs in the 80s and even 70s. High temperatures remain steadfast in much of the desert Southwest, while even the Southern California coast is warming up into the 80s. Despite a Rockies warming trend, temperatures there aren’t due to get above the mild mid 70s.
In another example of increasing tightness in storage capacity, Columbia Gas (TCO) said based on current forecasts, it is expecting limited injection flexibility throughout the remainder of the injection season. “Shippers should be aware that it is likely that TCO will need to call Critical Days in storage for the upcoming weekend, if not before,” the pipeline said. “Customers can assist in mitigating restrictions by pulling off long imbalance positions and managing their transport of gas.”
Takeaway capacity from the Rockies via Bison Pipeline remains limited. In an update Wednesday on the force majeure that continues to limit available Bison volumes to 230,000 Dth/d (see Daily GPI, Aug. 11), the pipeline said it is still working with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to return the pipeline to full capacity, but until it gets PHMSA approval it must continue to operate at a reduced pressure.
Kern River joined Westcoast in reporting low linepack. In sharp contrast to the Westcoast Station 2 gain, quotes into Kern River dropped by a little more than a nickel.
In a sense, Bentek Energy somewhat signaled the impending softness in its U.S. Natural Gas Hub Flows chart. Nominated volumes for Wednesday increased at only five of the 23 trading locations it covers (another three points were flat, while there was no flow data recorded at Panhandle Eastern-Haven). Some of the upticks were fairly sizeable: Texas Eastern rose 376,000 MMBtu (up 24%); Opal rose by 236,000 MMBtu (21%); and NGPL-TexOk gained 103,000 MMBtu (26%). The major losses, Bentek said, were at the Florida citygate, down 139,000 MMBtu (3%); and Sumas, down 124,000 MMBtu (15%).
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