All indications pointed to the futures market continuing higheron Wednesday: gains posted in the Tuesday evening Access session, awell bid over the counter market Wednesday morning, and inertiacoming off two days of advances. But when the market openedyesterday a vital component was missing, prompting a beleagueredbull to say “the buyers just didn’t show up [Wednesday] morning.”The September contract meandered down from its open, slipping 2.2cents to close at $2.873.
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The futures market wasted little time continuing lower yesterdayadding to losses registered Wednesday evening following the releaseof the weekly AGA storage report. That report, showing alarger-than-expected 93 Bcf injection gave storage bears somethingto chew on. The August contract opened near its high then tumbled9.9 cents to settle at $2.132 in active trading yesterday.
The battle over the next gas distribution frontier is continuingin Maine with the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) grantingBangor Gas Co. unconditional authority to provide gas distributionservice to five municipalities in the greater Bangor area. BangorGas, a joint venture of Bangor Hydro and Energy Pacific, iscompeting for market share in the area with CMP Natural Gas, ajoint venture of Central Maine Power and New York State Electric& Gas. Both projects are intended to provide new gas serviceonce Maritimes and Northeast comes on line in November 1999.
The dueling U.S. titans were continuing their battle to be thenew owner of England’s The Energy Group. Texas Utilities said itacquired 36.9 million more Energy Group shares at 840 pence/share,representing about 7.1% of The Energy Group’s issued share capital,and now holds 114.4 million shares, about 21.96% of issued sharecapital. TU had the blessing of U.S. regulators for the shareacquisition.
Basis relationships have tightened by a remarkable degree inMarch, and Thursday’s continuing price strength in the West coupledwith drops of a nickel or so at points in the Gulf Coast,Midcontinent and Appalachia/Northeast brought the regions evencloser.