With a siege of frigid weather in the East not only showing little sign of letting up soon, and even strengthening by New Year’s Day, and the South having returned to lows on either side of freezing over the weekend, multi-dollar spikes in the Northeast led an across-the-board advance by the spot market Monday.
Double-digit gains prevailed at a large majority of locations amid increases ranging from about a nickel to the $3.75 area. Only Transco Zone 6-New York and Iroquois managed to average above $10, but three other Northeast citygates came close to doing so.
Futures traders also appeared to be buying into the general end-of-year market bullishness, sending the January contract soaring by 34.7 cents a day prior to expiration (see related story), which will add a bit of extra momentum to the cash price surge Tuesday.
An OFO Action Alert by Tennessee in its two farthest downstream zones (see Transportation Notes) and new restrictions on imbalances that would reduce their linepack by three Spectra Energy pipelines (Texas Eastern, Algonquin and Maritimes & Northeast) helped signify how much Northeast demand was expanding.
On the other hand, although it took no action NOVA warned shippers Sunday of a potential imbalance tolerance change due to nominations leading to high linepack.
According to The Weather Channel’s (TWC) “Current Temperatures” map at mid-afternoon Monday, the only areas with relatively moderate conditions were peninsular Florida, South Texas and the extreme southwestern corner of the U.S.
Few areas outside the desert Southwest, much of California and some of the lowest reaches of the South were expected to stay above lows from the single digits through the 30s Tuesday. And winter weather was just starting to get its second wind. A Monday morning advisory by AccuWeather.com’s Justin Roberti said “soon after the current arctic blast eases its grip on the East, a storm will roll in from the Gulf of Mexico to ring in the New Year with snow, ice and rain, followed by some of the coldest, nastiest weather of the season so far next weekend.”
Even the West, which is considered one of the more moderate regions at this time, isn’t completely escaping the cold weather sting. Rockies temperatures are continuing to bottom out in the teens, and a new Pacific cold front will arrive Tuesday with rain and mountain snow from Northern California northward to Washington, TWC said.
A Florida trader said Florida Gas Transmission’s (FGT) Overage Alert Day (see Transportation Notes) wasn’t much of a hassle, but he reported seeing intraday purchases from parties that had gone short into the holiday weekend because they weren’t expecting the Sunshine State’s cold spell early this week. Generally, the intraday numbers were a little more expensive than spot prices partly due to the Nymex advance, he said, “but at one point I could buy intraday [supply] cheaper than next-day gas.”
The trader said January production-area basis seems a little stronger than a month ago, noting that he was seeing deals into FGT Zones 1-3 at flat to plus a nickel over Nymex. He thought he might finish bidweek trading Monday, but could leave a couple of packages for Tuesday’s futures expiration.
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