Following a frenetic week of April trading featuring near20-cent price swings and unusually high volume in both futures andcash markets, Monday’s market exhibited a calmness that remindedtraders April is a shoulder month. But, regardless of the smalllosses and lack of excitement generated yesterday, prices are stillat their highest levels since the December bidweek and as much as80 cents above year ago levels.
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As sources had predicted, Wednesday’s run-up on the Nymex screenset the stage for cash price rises Thursday, which were abetted byfurther futures gains. There was even some expected cold weatherdemand in the central and eastern sections of the U.S. to help giveprices a little boost, traders said. Increases were on the modestside, mostly within a range of 2-5 cents.
Cash price quotes again put on their stuck-in-cement actWednesday as flatness remained the common denominator among mostmarkets. But snowy conditions in the Rockies couldn’t keep mostof the region’s pipes from softening into the mid $1.90s.Denver-Julesburg Basin gas into CIG yielded about the only Rockiesquotes still above $2. A Denver-area trading firm reportedly closedits offices early Wednesday because of the snowstorm, as did manyColorado schools.
Central Gulf of Mexico Lease Sale 169 wasn’t a record, unlikethe last few lease sales, but heavy bidding seems to indicate lowcrude oil prices have not affected the industry’s aggressivedrilling plans. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s MineralsManagement Service (MMS) reported receiving 1,188 bids on 794tracts offered Wednesday. A total of 87 companies participated inthe sale. All bids totaled nearly $1.35 billion, and high bidstotaled more than $810.4 million. Of 4,180 tracts offered, 794received bids with an average of 1.5 bids per tract. By comparison,Central Gulf Sale 166, which took place a year ago, generated morethan $824 million in high bids but on more tracts. Then, 1,032tracts received bids of 5,059 offered.