A majority of the cash market continued to fall Wednesday, and for a change the Rockies joined in the overall price movement direction. The continuing lack of substantive cooling load in what normally is a time of high power generation demand and prior-day screen weakness again depressed the market.
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The continuing decline of heating load in North America, coupled with a lack of substantive cooling load to replace it, caught up with the cash market Thursday and caused moderate price drops at most points. Rockies points took the biggest hits by far, with Northwest-domestic and Opal recording dollar-plus plunges.
The cash market began the week Monday greatly resembling the way it did in the preceding week — with substantive price gains at a large majority of points based on strong cold weather fundamentals across the East but with the Rockies taking steep dives due to generally weak western heating load, limited storage injection opportunities and regional transport constraints.
Buoyed by substantive heating load in many areas and the previous Friday’s futures spike of 42.4 cents, cash prices rebounded Monday from weekend weakness by rising at all points. Nearly all of the gains were strong in double digits; only Sumas and Westcoast Station 2 failed to go up by a dime or more.
While there will be “a lot of noise” on Capitol Hill in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, energy analyst Christine Tezak doubts there will be “substantive legislation” adopted to change the way domestic energy markets operate.
Prices rose across the board Tuesday based on a screen spike of nearly 33 cents the day before and still substantive (but dwindling) air conditioning load. Upticks ranging from nearly a dime to a little more than 40 cents were distributed fairly evenly among the various market regions, although California quotes tended to see the smallest increases.
Prices were up across the board Thursday in what traders agreed was a purely Nymex-driven cash market. In the absence of any substantive fundamental demand, physical numbers derived virtually all of their support from Wednesday’s 41-cent screen spike, they said.
Traders were hard-pressed to come up with any substantive explanation for why cash prices staged modest rallies at most points Wednesday. There was no prior-day screen strength at which to point, and other than a warming trend in the South (destined to be brief) and colder temperatures in Western Canada and the northwestern quadrant of the U.S., the weather outlook failed to provide any rationale for higher quotes.
A federal judge in Washington, DC Tuesday ordered seven federal agencies to turn over documents to Judicial Watch, a public watchdog group, related to their roles on Vice President Dick Cheney’s interagency task force that developed the national energy policy last year.