Cash prices continued on an upward track Thursday, although thegains were a bit smaller than those posted Wednesday. A fewincreases barely exceeded a nickel, such as at Waha and the HoustonShip Channel, where Texas air conditioning load is growing.Northeast citygates tended to go up about a nickel as a sourcereported storage demand rising there now that the injection seasonis under way. Most other points rose between 2 and 4 cents. It’sthe same old story about why the market has been fairly strong thisweek, a trader said-power generation load, a firm screen andwestern cold.
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The mini-rallies reported at several points in Wednesday’s latecash trading apparently carried over into Thursday, resulting in aflat to slightly higher March swing market. A strong showing byHenry Hub futures on Nymex helped give cash a boost, sources said.In addition, there was enough chillier weather in the midwesternand northeastern market areas to have an impact on heating load.
It won’t be long before natural gas users will be able togenerate their own electricity at home, according to Plug Power,which announced that it has completed the successful demonstrationof a natural gas-based proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cellsystem. The residential- sized system-which includes a fuel cellstack, power conditioner and a Johnson Matthey fuelprocessor-produced in excess of 4 kW of electricity this week atthe company’s upstate New York development facility.
Cash prices tended to make modest gains Thursday, with most ofthe strength concentrated at Texas points where significant airconditioning load is developing. Houston’s heat index shot up to102 degrees in the afternoon, said a local source. That caused ShipChannel numbers to rise a little over a nickel to the $2.20 area.Waha prices also benefited from the statewide heat and also roseslightly more than a nickel into the low $2.12s. However, late Wahaprices were tailing off slightly, a marketer said. The Texasheat-related upticks carried over into the Permian and San JuanBasins in a domino effect, another trader said.