Oneok said last week that it remained steadfast in its desire tomerge with Southwest Gas, even in the face of a recommendation bythe Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) staff to delay thetransaction. The Oklahoma-based company said the ACC staff decisionwas swayed by a “spurned suitor” and although no names arementioned, Southern Union Co. is the likeliest candidate for thespoiler role. Southern Union is bound by court order not to discussthe merger.
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Oneok said yesterday that it remained steadfast in its desire tomerge with Southwest Gas, even in the face of a recommendation bythe Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) staff to delay thetransaction. The Oklahoma-based company said the ACC staff decisionwas swayed by a “spurned suitor” and although no names arementioned, Southern Union Co. is the likeliest candidate for thespoiler role. The ACC did not return NGI’s calls before press time,and Southern Union is bound by court order not to discuss themerger.
Except for the Rockies and Pacific Northwest, fundamentalsremained kind of on the wimpy side in most markets Monday. However,going on the theory that a bird in the bush (weather forecast) isworth more than two or three in the hand (current conditions),traders sent prices higher by about a dime or more at most points.Although the screen provided a smidgen of support with a gain ofslightly over 6 cents, sources agreed that a new forecast for muchcolder temperatures than anything seen previously was the mainfactor in rising cash prices.
El Paso found unexpected damage in its inspection of the WhiteRock No. 2 turbine. The unit remained down through Friday, cuttingSan Juan Basin capacity by 200 MMcf/d. The pipeline expected tocomplete repairs by late Friday afternoon, but said because itcould not raise San Juan capacity until the unit could be tested,the constraint would remain in effect for Cycles 1 and 2 ofSaturday’s gas day.
Cash market prices remained predominantly flat during Tuesday’strading session, mimicking a stagnant Nymex futures screen and heldfast by decreasing demand nationwide. Aside from major Northeasternmarkets, which almost doubled Monday’s declines, cash continuedflat to a penny lower at most trading points.
The overall tone of the cash market remained flat Thursday, buta growing number of points were recording tiny decreases. Thetouches of softness came even as an eastbound cold front reachedthe nation’s midsection, reminding regions that had beenexperiencing record seasonal warmth recently that winter isn’tquite over yet. One source speculated that prices may be finallystarting to crack under the strain of having maintained theirpositions during a long period of no fundamentals support. Even thearrival of some for-real weather fundamentals may not be enough toprovide support, he said.
A systemwide entitlement against overtakes that began Dec. 19 onNorthwest remained in effect going into the holiday weekend.Northwest said Wednesday it would continue to operate under a Stage1 entitlement at 3% because it had not seen sufficient improvementin system conditions. However, as of Wednesday the entitlement waslifted on points south of Kemmerer (WY) Station.
East-West price tendencies remained at odds Monday. WhileEastern points ranged from flat to down as much as a nickel, theWest mostly was registering increases. Gains were particularlystrong in the California market, where Malin was up by nearly 15cents after PG&E had ended its weekend high-inventory OFO.
The May Nymex contract surged 13.3 cents to $2.668 Wednesday,despite cash market prices which remained relatively unchanged. Thereason why? “Who really knows, but what I do know enough funds wereconvinced this market was a play to trigger buy stops above $2.61.Estimated volume of more than 80,000 contracts tells you that,” asource told GPI.
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.