“That’s what 20 inches of snow in Chicago will do for you,” aHouston-based producer said Monday in reference to the severeholiday weekend blizzard in the Midwest that propelled cash pricesupward by 20 cents or more at many points. What was being calledthe region’s worst winter storm in more than three decades leftfreezing temperatures across the eastern three-fourths of thenation and very strong heating load.

A producer regretted going into the month flat in Northeastmarkets after getting a lot of calls from buyers in the area andhearing that $3-plus pricing was around after the weekend for TexasEastern M-3 and Transco Zone 6 citygates. However, volatile tradingalso went well below $3 and resulted in a wide range of more than50 cents.

Temperatures were still relatively warm in Alberta Monday, butprovincial prices rose more than a dime into the low C$2.50s inanticipation of highs that will be reaching just minus 20 degreesby Friday, a marketer said. Prices might have gone even higher, hethought, but transportation constraints were backing up moderateamounts of gas at the Eastern Gate and Kingsgate.

El Paso-Permian was rising as trading proceeded from the mid$1.90s to over $2, helped along by the pipeline’s low-linepack OFO(see Transportation Notes), a source said. But another Westerntrader said points such as Malin and the Rockies were backing offtheir highs late in the morning.

After a bidweek that yielded indexes with Malin in the unusualposition of being 8 cents above the Southern California border, thetwo points were resuming a more normal basis relationship Mondaywith Malin in the low $2.00s about a nickel below the border. Amarketer said some traders felt the border was running too lowbased on the bidweek numbers.

“It was very difficult for buyers to make accurate decisionslast Wednesday about what their loads would be Sunday and Monday,”one trader observed. As a result some marketers had their weekendscut short Sunday and found it necessary to make intraday purchasesMonday, he said.

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