Southern lows predicted to drop to the 50 area east of the Mississippi River were contributing a small amount of heating load to the much bigger demand in Canada and from the U.S. Northeast through the Midwest into the Upper Plains. The entire cash market continued to move higher Thursday except for a flat Agua Dulce, but significantly smaller increases than the day before signaled that the week’s bullishness might be running out of steam.
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Drilling in natural gas liquids-weighted plays and oil shales are expected to be the focus of domestic exploration and production (E&P) companies in 2011, energy analysts with FBR Capital Markets said Monday.
Onshore natural gas plays that are able to generate profits even when gas prices are below $4/Mcf, including the Marcellus Shale, should see rig activity up by 18% in 2011 over this year, according to analysts with Raymond James & Associates Inc.
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, Alaska’s junior senator, has called on Republican candidate Joe Miller to drop his legal challenge to the state of Alaska’s criteria for counting write-in ballots, which made incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski the apparent winner of the election for Alaska’s senior Republican senator post last month.
Prices fell across the board Friday as the continuing dearth of either heating or cooling load, the previous day’s 9-cent futures drop and the usual weekend dip of industrial demand combined to soften the cash market. The lack of any credible tropical storm threat to offshore production was another bearish factor.
Although most points continued to drop Monday, mild firmness at several points created a mixed market and indicated slightly more firmness than on the preceding Friday when all points were down. Except for high temperatures with peaks from the mid 90s to the mid 100s forecast for Tuesday from the Southeast through the desert Southwest, most areas were expected to have relatively moderate temperatures around 90 or lower.
Despite the pre-holiday weekend drop of 16.7 cents by August futures, prices recorded gains across the board Tuesday that were mostly in double digits. Although an early-week heat wave along the East Coast was due to start receding a bit Wednesday, temperatures would remain pretty warm, and one source suggested that end-users and utilities may have bought extra gas to make up for imbalances caused by highs that neared 100 Monday and Tuesday in such places as New York City.
Cash prices shrugged off the previous day’s screen drop of 11.7 cents and slightly receding cooling load and instead focused on the modest increase of potential in a tropical storm named Alex reaching the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) production area as they recorded gains at virtually all points Wednesday.