Futures Inch Lower Seeking Confirmation of a Bottom

Nymex futures gave an early “head fake” looking to rebound fromlosses registered on Tuesday, but the move was insubstantial,giving way to minor softening before the close Wednesday. That leftthe market still in limbo without a clear signal whether the bottomhad been reached. The August contract slipped 1.7 cents to settleat $1.934 during relatively high volume of 82,830.

July 23, 1998

Dreyfus Gets $40M for Ending Contract

Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas received a payment of $40 million forearly termination of a long-term, fixed-price gas sales contract.The terminated contract, which was with an independent powerproducer, covered 4 Bcf/year of gas which would have been deliveredthrough 2006. The total volumes of 33 Bcf, covered by thisterminated contract, are now available to be sold to othercustomers or in the spot market. Proceeds will be used to reducebank debt. The payment monetizes a portion of the value of Dreyfus’portfolio of long-term, fixed-price contracts. The value of thesecontracts is not reflected on its balance sheet. In the aggregate,the remaining contracts have a present value (discounted 10%) inexcess of market of about $125 million.

July 2, 1998

June Futures Break Higher Early, Fall Back Late

After breaking out of its downward trading channel and reachinga high of $2.24, the June Nymex contract fell back considerablyFriday and settled the day up only 0.8 cents to $2.167. Strongtechnical buying and position covering ahead of the weekend seemedto spearhead the rally, but the door to even higher prices slammedshut not long before the closing bell.

May 11, 1998

AGL Executives Leaving, Income Down

Five senior AGL Resources officers are leaving the company forearly retirement or other business interests, the company said.Leaving the company are Thomas Benson, President and COO of AtlantaGas Light; Robert Goocher, COO of AGL Resources Services; VerleneCobb, vice president corporate communications; Charlie Lail, seniorvice president operations improvement; and Marvin Wyatt Jr., vicepresident operations support. All but Benson’s position are beingeliminated as part of CEO Walter M. Higgins effort to betterposition AGL for gas deregulation in Georgia, which is scheduled totake place later this year. Higgins took over as CEO in February.AGL said an acting president of Atlanta Gas Light will be announcedwithin the next several days as will other internal reassignments.

May 6, 1998

June Futures Recover From Early Price Weakness

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.

May 5, 1998

Early Dose of Summer Sends May Futures Above $2.40

The May Nymex contract rallied 5.7 cents to settle Monday at$2.409, thanks to what sources said was good peak demand buying inthe physical market. “There was definitely some peak airconditioning demand in Texas today, and that’s exactly where youwant to see it to influence natural gas prices,” one of the sourcessaid. Buoyed by that strength, May had no problem rising from itsopening trade of $2.345, which also turned out to be its low pricefor the day.

March 31, 1998

California Electric Competition Kicks Off

California’s retail electric market kicks off in the earlymorning hours today (March 31) with the state-chartered wholesalespot market, the power exchange (PX), processing a market-clearingprice and generation schedules for another newly created statepublic benefits organization, the independent system operator(ISO), that will run the state transmission grid.

March 31, 1998

Halt of IT Discounting Not Tied to NGC Contracts

El Paso Natural Gas conceded Wednesday it discontinueddiscounting interruptible transportation early this year, but saidits action was primarily due to its new status as “swing supplier”of California-bound transportation – a position that it says givesit free reign to charge maximum IT rates.

March 4, 1998
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