In an $88.1 million switch, California regulators last weekdecided to reallocate the bulk of Southern California Gas Co.’s$161.8 million in 1997 step-down charges paid to El Paso NaturalGas and Transwestern interstate pipelines serving southernCalifornia from the mass regulated consumers to large industrial(noncore) customers. SoCalGas maintains that the buy-out eventuallywill save its customers between $320 and $525 million.
Articles from Bear
Tuesday’s trading appeared to bear out one Daily GPI source’spredictions Monday of generally stagnant pricing for the rest ofthis week. Eastern numbers formed almost a mirror image of theprevious day’s pattern. Instead of being flat to a little higher,they were flat to a little lower. And prices in the West, which hadbeen busy recovering lost weekend ground Monday, joined inTuesday’s overall flat-to-lower trend with the exception of smallgains at the PG&E citygate and a couple of Rockies locations.
The sell-off continued Friday at Nymex as traders liquidatedlong positions ahead of the weekend in response to some blaringtechnical factors and in anticipation of moderating temperaturesthis week in key gas consuming regions. The September contractprobed lower to finish down 2.6 cents at $2.543 Friday. Estimatedvolume of 78,445 was low relative to the preceding five-straight,100,000-plus trading sessions.
After a volatile three days of seller-dominated trading Tuesday,Wednesday and Thursday last week, the futures market was quietFriday as light pre-weekend short covering was almost perfectlymatched by follow-through selling. The August contract could manageonly a 4.5-cent trading range before finishing 0.1 cents higher forthe day at $2.163. Estimated volume was relatively modest, with55,158 contracts changing hands.
Mondays have been bear-traders’ favorite day of the week atNymex with the last five producing losses to start the week. Themarket looked poised to continue that trend yesterday, but strongerprices mixed with concerns the market is nearing the bottombolstered the September contract 2.5 cents for the day. That leftthe prompt month at $1.869.
“The bear market is over, the bull market has begun.” That’s howone industry broker succinctly summarised the recent developmentsin the natural gas futures market yesterday. The July contractadded to its latest fortunes by climbing another 7.8 cents tosettle Monday at $2.362. In so doing, July is now “well above anypossible downtrend line you can realistically draw,” a source toldGPI.
Texas Eastern Transmission (Tetco) on Tuesday submitted to FERCan offer of settlement that it insists will save pipeline customersmore than $260 million over the next five to six years.
Like a grizzly bear accidentally stepping on a porcupine, VikingVoyageur seems to have tread on a Wisconsin landowner whose husbandhappens to be a Noble Prize winning economist with a dislike ofpipeline infrastructure. In testimony filed at FERC on behalf ofhis wife Katherine D. Miller, Merton H. Miller, McCormickDistinguished Service Professor of Finance, Emeritus, of theGraduate School of Business, University of Chicago, warned theCommission if its goal in approving new pipelines is to benefitconsumers then it should toss the Voyageur project.