With temperatures creeping slightly higher in several regions and some — albeit quite modest — prior-day screen support, cash prices managed to rebound by mostly moderate amounts at a solid majority of points Monday. The market also got a bit of backing from the return of industrial load from its typical weekend slump.
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Showing improvement, albeit modest, Sierra Pacific Resources Friday reported earnings for the first quarter of $1.2 million, or a penny/share, compared to a $9.5 million loss, or an 8 cents/share, for the same period last year. There was continued strong growth at both of the company’s Nevada utilities, but the largest utility, Nevada Power Co., still recorded a loss in the first quarter.
Buoyed by growing, albeit still rather moderate, heating load and a screen jump of more than 20 cents the day before, cash prices advanced strongly across the board Thursday. Increases ranged from 30 cents to nearly 60 cents, with the West tending to garner the lion’s share of the larger upticks.
Putting the first, albeit small, chink in the rosy natural gas storage picture, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Thursday morning that 68 Bcf was put into underground storage for the week ended Sept. 17. The weekly storage injection was considered largely bullish when compared to historical data for the week, but most industry-watchers had been expecting a smaller-than-normal injection because of the impact of Hurricane Ivan on Gulf of Mexico production.
Invoking a new policy, albeit with conditions, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) late last month pre-approved Southwest Gas Corp.’s participation in a proposed 750,000 Dth/d interstate natural gas pipeline that Kinder Morgan intends to build from the San Juan Basin to the Phoenix area and then West to the California border. Arizona’s deep thirst for new gas supplies prompted the move, regulators indicated in approving the gas utility’s pre-approval request.
Invoking a new policy, albeit with conditions, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) last Thursday pre-approved Southwest Gas Corp.’s participation in a proposed 750,000 Dth/d interstate natural gas pipeline that Kinder Morgan intends to build from the San Juan Basin to the Phoenix area and then West to the California border. Arizona’s deep thirst for new gas supplies prompted the move, regulators indicated in approving the gas utility’s pre-approval request.
Even with solid earnings reported for the third quarter, albeit decreased from a year earlier, PG&E Corp. senior executives Wednesday delivered sobering news about both of its major business units — the utility and merchant energy operations. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding for PG&E’s utility now is expected to run into the first half of next year, and the National Energy Group (NEG) is going to default on short-term loan obligations as they become due in coming weeks.
Unocal Corp. increased its offer, albeit slightly, on the pending share exchange offer for Pure Resources Inc. Subsidiary Union Oil Company of California made the amended offer Wednesday after a special committee of the Pure Resources’ board of directors obtained an injunction to stop the share exchange a day earlier (see Daily GPI, Oct. 2).
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services on Wednesday kept Aquila Inc.’s credit rating at investment grade, albeit one notch above “junk” status. Analyst Todd Shipman said Aquila’s credit profile had been “stressed,” but found that “management has taken and is expected to continue to take steps that will preserve credit quality in the triple ‘B’ area.”
Rebounding from Thursday’s heavily predicted, albeit modestsell-off, natural gas futures turned higher Friday as tradersjumped at the opportunity to increase their length while the marketwas trading off fresh highs. After opening lower and quicklymatching Thursday’s $2.75 low, the April contract rumbled 4.2 centshigher to close at $2.825, just below its $2.83 high for the dayand only pennies less than the $2.865 life-of-contract high put inThursday. Estimated volume was solid, with 53,424 contractschanging hands.