A Houston-based producer summarized his gas market outlookWednesday: “It’s pretty ugly for August, even uglier forSeptember.” Although end-users might consider the picture moreattractive, all could agree that prices were dropping for bothincremental August and September bidweek business.
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Even though construction of the intrastate Front Range Pipelinealready is in progress and work on the Front Runner Pipeline isexpected to start “fairly soon,” the sponsors have disclosed thatthey are continuing discussions to possibly combine the two rivalprojects into a single pipeline to serve the growing Colorado gasmarket.
Before its massive 700 MMcf/d expansion/extension project iseven put in place, Northern Border already is planning to fileanother expansion/extension that would provide shippers with 545MMcf/d of transportation capacity into Indiana markets.
Northwest said it would not issue an Operational Flow Order fortoday’s gas day even though repairs to Unit #1 at the Snohomish(WA) Compressor Station were continuing Wednesday. The pipelineexpected to complete the work by Wednesday night, but said an OFOstill might be possible should the maintenance continue throughtoday. Northwest credited cool weather and customer cooperation onbalancing with allowing it to meet demand for Sumas/SIPI gas overthe weekend. But with warming weather and continued high demand itis having difficulty meeting Primary Firm nominations without theSnohomish #1 unit
Last year, Duke Energy’s LNG imports soared 337% to 30.6 Bcf.But 1998 is expected to be even better because the recent economiccrisis in Asia has stifled demand while LNG shipping and productioncosts have been declining. Duke Energy LNG Sales announcedyesterday it purchased three more spot cargoes of liquefied naturalgas (8.9 TBtu) from the North West Shelf LNG Project in Australia.The company has arranged to sell the LNG in U.S. markets in June,August and November. It will be imported at Duke’s Trunkline LNGreceiving terminal located in Lake Charles, LA. The shipments willcome from North West Shelf’s liquefaction facilities located atWithnell Bay in the port of Dampier in Australia.
April swing prices showed even more strength Wednesday than theyhad in Tuesday’s trading for April Fool’s Day flow. Double-digitincreases were the order of the day at almost trading point.However, it appeared that numbers may have peaked for now sincesources reported that late deals were falling in most markets.That portends softening quotes today, they said.
Surprise, even shock, are common reactions to what occurs on the New York Mercantile Exchange on expiration day of a spot month gas futures contract, but yesterday many natural gas traders must have come close to suicidal trauma. Not because of price volatility, however. At about 1:50 p.m. EST, someone at the Teleport Communications Group, the telephone carrier that serves the trading floors of the New York Mercantile Exchange, pulled the plug. All commodity trading, including of course gas futures, screeched to a halt, creating a hair-raising state of panic.