Little in the way of very cold weather was expected for the opening day of December, but its workday contrast to the long holiday weekend and a residual boost from the screen’s expiration-day strength Tuesday was sufficient to turn the swing market around Wednesday and yield mostly sizeable gains.
Articles from Aftermarket
Aftermarket premiums over first-of-month indexes got much smaller Wednesday when incremental numbers fell anywhere from a dime to about 30 cents. Most drops were between 15 cents and a quarter, with those in the Rockies tending to be smallest.
The October aftermarket opened on a heavily bullish note at eastern, southwestern and California points Monday with cash prices shooting up between about a quarter and a little more than 50 cents. However, Rockies numbers were flat to down as much as 20 cents, one source said. Lili officially became a hurricane — the fourth of the 2002 Atlantic season — Monday morning and was staying on a track similar to the one that Isidore followed before it caused widespread production outages in the Gulf of Mexico last week.
Traders found a mixed bag in launching the March aftermarket Thursday. Although swing prices began the month handily above indexes, they were generally flat to end-of-February numbers, but with sizeable variations to both the downside and upside.
Until yesterday the February aftermarket was rather dull and stodgy, with small price movements up or down (mostly up) characterizing each trading day. But the pattern got broken Tuesday with upticks consistently in the range of 15-20 cents reported for both eastern and western points. Larger gains of 30-50 cents were recorded in the Northeast, with a few citygate points seeing WACOGs above $3. (Intra-Alberta and Westcoast Station 2 were also above $3 in Canadian dollars.)
The January aftermarket started out strongly relative to end-of-December numbers, but without straying too far from apparent first-of-month index levels. Nearly all of the swing movement ranged from flat to about 20 cents higher, but gains tended to get much bigger at Northeast citygates, topped off by an advance of more than a dollar at the Transco Zone 6-NYC pool.
No one appeared to be shocked when the September aftermarket got launched Friday with prices way below both bidweek and end-of-August levels. The double whammy of a long holiday weekend coupled with decidedly weak weather fundamentals proved to be a potent price-cutter. All Rockies/San Juan and a few other scattered points fell below $2. Rockies pipes were seeing their first sub-$2 averages since trading for June 11 flows.
May aftermarket pricing continued to erode Tuesday nearly across the board. Most declines were between about a nickel and a little more than 20 cents, with a majority of them toward the upper end of that range. The non-Malin California points plunged more than a dollar.
No fooling; the April aftermarket remains quite weak in its early days. San Juan Basin/Rockies quotes dipped as low as the $3.20s Monday amid an overall market dive that saw nearly all points dropping by a quarter or more. Only a moderate rise of a little more than a dime at the Southern California border, leaving it only about a dime shy of the April index, went against the overall softening tendency.