Lacking little new input from weather or futures, the cashmarket decided to take it easy for the most part Tuesday. Flat toslightly higher pricing dominated in most areas, with most of thelarger gains of about a dime or more occurring at Rockies/San Juanpoints.

Former Hurricane Keith had been downgraded all the way to atropical depression as it trudged slowly to the west-northwestacross Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The National Weather Serviceexpects the storm to regain hurricane strength after emerging intothe southern Gulf of Mexico sometime today, but its anticipatedtracking likely would take Keith to the west of most Gulfproduction facilities.

However, as a precaution Shell Oil said it planned evacuation of116 employees from a drilling rig in the Alaminos Canyon area inthe western Gulf and another 200 non-essential workers from thedeepwater Garden Banks area of the central Gulf.

News that Vector Pipeline’s scheduled start-up would be delayedby a month until Dec. 1 (see related story in this issue) only hada minor impact in day trading at the Dawn (ON) Hub, which was up acouple of cents, a marketer said. But the overall winter strip forDawn was rising, she added, and November numbers were higher thanthose for December. Vector was designed to provide extra takeawaycapacity for the gas that will begin arriving at the Chicagocitygate when Alliance starts operations Oct. 30; Vector willtransport to Dawn and also provide access to Upper Midwest marketsand storage.

A Canadian cold front is pushing southward into the Rockies andMidwest, raising prospects for heating load in those markets as theweek goes on. However, late-week temperatures in the Northeast willnot be as low as some were expecting, one trader said, so anyheating load there will be only moderate.

A mainline leak on Florida Gas Transmission in southeast Texas(see Transportation Notes) had virtually no impact on flat pipelineprices, a marketer said.

PG&E citygates saw the day’s only significant decline ofabout a dime, which made the Southern California border once againcommand a premium to the PG&E citygate, an unusual pricerelationship that was in effect for much of the summer. The twopoints had traded at near parity Monday, but in October indexes theborder ($5.57) trailed the citygate ($5.91) by more than 30cents.The new reversal was mainly a case of PG&E, while notissuing a high-linepack OFO, projecting linepack that was bumpingup against its upper target levels, a large aggregator explained.Power generation load in California is fairly benign for now, hesaid, and outages at western nuclear plants are not making much ofa difference to the gas market.

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