While efforts to deregulate the electric industry at both thestate and federal level drag on, at least one internationalobserver found U.S. gas deregulation worthy of praise. RobertPriddle, executive director of the International Energy Agency(IEA) in Paris, told reporters at the 17th Congress of the WorldEnergy Council that the United States leads the world in gascompetition. Priddle said he is heartened by the Federal EnergyRegulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision to review pipeline rateregulation. Priddle gave his talk to highlight findings of theIEA’s report card on U.S. energy policy. The findings stem from a1998 review and are published by the agency in a 152-page book.
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The initial September aftermarket was both above and belowbidweek levels at various Eastern points Monday but decidedlystronger to the West. One trader found Southern California bordernumbers mostly in the mid $2.10s, nearly a dime above bidweekaverages. The situation was similar for Malin and the PG&Ecitygate, which got a little extra boost from a low-inventoryPG&E OFO (see Transportation Notes). “It’s hot here inCalifornia,” said a source, adding it seemed “like everybody wasout buying today.”
A decision by the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals giving theSouthern Ute Indian tribe rights and royalties to natural gasproduced on about 200,000 acres in the San Juan Basin of Coloradopotentially could be used as a precedent impacting 2.4 millionacres of producing properties in six Western states, AmocoProduction Co. said last week.
The June Nymex contract caused quite a bit of excitement onFriday, as the spot month teased both the bears and the bulls. Juneraised the eyebrows of bearish traders when the contractmomentarily reached a low of $1.99, but strong short coveringkicked in at that point, enough to drive the spot month to itsfinal settlement price of $2.094.
Natural gas futures traders received a taste of both bearish andbullish news Monday, as the spot June contract turned in yetanother in a recent wave of volatile daily trading ranges. Thebears made their presence felt first after June easily fell belowthe double bottom trading formation in the $2.152-16 area toestablish a new low of $2.110. However, strong buying kicked in atthat point, and the June contract rode that momentum to settle theday up 5.5 cents at $2.257/MMBtu.
Prices continued to rise Thursday in trading for both lateFebruary and March. It was mostly a response to the screen’sbelated run-up Wednesday, sources said, but there was enoughblizzard-like weather spreading out from the Upper Plains region togive prices a little extra boost.