Buoyed by a much firmer screen and the pickup in load thatfollows a long Labor Day weekend, cash prices rose Tuesday by anickel or more at almost every point, with most of the increasesexceeding a dime. Not only did natural gas futures rise more than adime, but the crude oil futures contract for October also flexedits muscle with a jump of slightly over 60 cents, placing it wellabove $22/bbl, a marketer pointed out.
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Whether the cash market follows the futures screen or vice-versais the source of considerable conjecture and debate in the naturalgas market-almost on a daily basis. Although there have been timeswhen futures have been the driving force in the market, many feelthat cash prices, egged on by solid heating demand, have liftedfutures prices out of the doldrums this month.
The move by Houston Industries (HI) last week to reconfigure itsbusiness to meet the demands of gas and power convergence followsrecent actions to build up its power generation division. HI formedHouston Industries Wholesale Energy Group to combine its powergeneration, gas transportation, and wholesale energy trading andmarketing capabilities of the company.