With more truly spring-like weather starting to supplant lingering vestiges of winter in sections of the North and the Rockies, most points were flat to down as much as about 80 cents Monday. Several locations, primarily in the California, Arizona/Nevada and Southwest basin areas, were higher.

The loss of about 80 cents at Northwest-South of Green was somewhat misleading; although some other points also fell by double-digit amounts of up to nearly 30 cents, most of Tuesday’s declines were in single digits, including as small as a couple of pennies. The minority gains ranged from 2 cents to about a quarter.

A cold front that arrived during the weekend knocked out virtually all of the cooling load that had developed in the South last week. Much of the region is not expected to get above the 60s Tuesday and will have lows in the 30s, and frost advisories are possible through early Wednesday, The Weather Channel said. Houston traders awoke to a decidedly unseasonable chill Monday morning, but highs there will begin rising into the low 80s late this week.

The Midwest and Northeast are continuing to see overnight lows not far above freezing, but daytime highs rising into the 50s (and even the 60s in some cases such as Chicago) are a welcome change from the cold conditions they were still experiencing as recently as last week.

Although the Rockies market tended to see most of Monday’s biggest losses, it may be getting a combination of heating and cooling load. Denver should see a high of 83 Tuesday while the low will be around 46, according to Madison, WI-based Weather Central. California is remaining chilly for the most part, but the desert Southwest is starting to get a preview of summer as Phoenix temperatures are peaking in the mid 90s.

Tuesday’s cash market will have prior-day futures support after Nymex’s May natural gas contract rebounded 15.2 cents Monday while crude oil was skyrocketing to yet another record settlement (see related story).

Florida Gas Zone 3 had the Gulf Coast’s only double-digit loss of about a quarter after Florida Gas Transmission ended an Overage Alert Day during the weekend (see Transportation Notes).

Northeast citygates tried to move higher for a while Monday but retreated mildly near the end of trading, said a marketer in the region. Utility demand was light because of the milder forecasts for later this week, he added. Gulf Coast-Northeast spreads were “in the money” for covering variable transport costs with a little extra left over, he said.

At least two analysts are expecting the first net storage injection of 2008 to be reported for the week ending April 11. Ron Denhardt of Strategic Energy & Economic Research looks for a build of 26 Bcf. Citigroup’s Tim Evans projects inventory additions of 15 Bcf and 25 Bcf for the weeks ending April 11 and April 18, respectively.

Baker Hughes reported that the number of drilling rigs actively searching for gas in the U.S. fell by seven during the week ending April 11 (https://intelligencepress.com/features/bakerhughes/). The count was down by two in the Gulf of Mexico and by five onshore, Baker Hughes said. Its tally was up 1% from a month earlier but down 1% from the year-ago level.

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