The price tug of war continued yesterday in the natural gas pitat Nymex, but in contrast to the previous seven sessions, bearswere victorious Wednesday as commercial sellers were too much forlocal buyers. After it was apparent the highs for the day had beenset, locals quickly changed their colors and were seen adding tothe selling pressure in a round of afternoon profit-taking. TheSeptember contract slid sharply at the close, settling down 4.4cents at $2.704.
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The usual suspects are at it again, as Pennsylvania Rep. Frank Tulli (R-106) and Sen. Frank Piccola (R-15) reintroduced a gas deregulation bill last Thursday. Their previous attempt to deregulate service to small commercial and residential customers failed to pass in Pennsylvania’s legislature last fall. Unlike the last try, however, this legislation is supported by a natural gas gross receipt tax (GRT) cut proposal from Governor Tom Ridge, enabling the bill to jump a large hurdle it was unable to overcome last time around (See NGI, Feb. 1).
Third quarter earnings announced by three more major producersThursday showed income declines from the previous third quarterranging from 37% to 79%. Not surprisingly, Shell, Chevron, andPhillips Petroleum all cited weak commodity prices for their poorperformances.
Prices continued to deteriorate Tuesday for much the same reasonas in the previous couple of trading days: weather that’s cool butnot sufficiently cold to generate significant heating demand. Therewasn’t even much cooling load left in Texas after astorm-generating cold front that had knocked out phone service indowntown Tulsa for several hours Monday got as far south asHouston.