Prices again showed little change from flat in a large majority of cases Thursday, but this time they tended to be mostly a little higher instead of the other way around as on the day before. Although some regions will see slightly warmer weather over the next couple of days or so, crisp and cool fall conditions appear to be pretty well established by now.
The cash market also had modest support from Wednesday’s advance of 3.3 cents by November futures.
Most points were flat to nearly 20 cents higher, but only a few locations rose by more than about a nickel. The rainy Northeast was still seeing only moderately cool temperatures, but it was home to most of the largest upticks.
Most of the losses ranging from 2-3 cents to about a nickel were concentrated in western markets.
For a change the Energy Information Administration fell short of consensus expectations of about 110 Bcf when it reported “only” a 103 Bcf addition to storage for the week ending Oct. 14. Though the volume was still hefty for this late in the injection season and handily exceeded comparable year-ago and five-year average figures, a bullish reaction by Nymex traders pushed prompt-month futures 4.4 cents higher (see related story).
Henry Hub, with prices up about 2 cents, saw volumes traded on IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) jump from 722,300 MMBtu Wednesday to 859,300 MMBtu Thursday. But due to a slightly stronger screen gain, the hub basis spread from November futures shrank from essential parity to a discount of about 2 cents.
Although the Houston Ship Channel recorded a minuscule price increase, cool weather in the area resulted in ICE activity dropping from 302,200 MMBtu to 180,700 MMBtu.
After a quiet day Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center had two areas of disturbed weather on its Atlantic monitoring map Thursday — one in the western Caribbean Sea and the other centered about 950 miles east of the southern Windward Islands. Both were accorded 10% chances of development into a tropical cyclone within the succeeding 48 hours through midday, but the odds for the first one were upgraded to 20% Thursday afternoon.
Although the Midwest and South were due for a short respite from the cold air that moved in from Canada earlier in the week, temperatures in both regions would still be below normal for this time of year, The Weather Channel said. AccuWeather.com forecasts on the Kern River bulletin board had Southern California and interior portions to the north warming to mild conditions through Saturday, while other than warmth continuing in the Phoenix area, cool to cold conditions would dominate the rest of the region’s outlook.
Enogex, which had expected to finish a postponed Line 20 outage Friday (see Daily GPI, Sept. 30), instead said Thursday that unscheduled pipeline maintenance would require it to temporarily remove Line 20 in the East Zone from service until further notice. This will result in “significant” allocations at all East Zone delivery points, Enogex said, with up to 40% of firm maximum daily quantities being curtailed. The Oklahoma intrastate market was weak overall, with OGT falling about a nickel.
A Northeast marketer said it was “raining up here” but still not especially cold. He reported seeing forecasts that the region will be 2-3% warmer this winter than last year. It looks like a fairly routine bidweek with normal basis spreads shaping up, he said, adding that “everybody seems well prepared” for the upcoming heating season.
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