Wednesday’s cash market was basically a repeat of what happened on Tuesday with Northeast prices making further gains of more than 60 cents to highs well above $10 at most locations while the rest of the market was flat or slipped a little with the weakness in the futures market and forecasts of warmer temperatures next week.
Articles from Then
Former Enron Corp. vice president Sherron Watkins, who warned then-Chairman Kenneth L. Lay in August 2001 that the energy trading company was about to “implode” in a wave of accounting irregularities, and two other whistle-blowers were named over the weekend as Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year. She will share the cover with WorldCom auditor Cynthia Cooper and FBI agent Coleen Rowley.
After oscillating higher, then lower and carving out a quick 13-cent trading range in 20 minutes Thursday morning, January natural gas futures finished the day with a bang as traders priced in another in a string of bullish storage reports (91 Bcf withdrawal). January finished at $4.406, up 10.8 cents for the session and just four ticks below its daily high at $4.41.
With prices spiking on Monday and then crashing lower Tuesday and Wednesday, this week has been a microcosm of the frenetic trading activity of the past four months, leaving traders yearning for the holiday weekend and the calming effect they hope will come with the shoulder months of September and October. After gapping lower at the opening bell Wednesday, the September contract cascaded lower throughout the session to finish at $3.288, down 19.5 cents for the session, but up 39.8 cents over the course of its month-long tenure as prompt contract. For an expiration day, volume in the gas pit was light, with an estimated 126,596 contracts changing hands.
UtiliCorp United announced plans to buy back the 20% of its trading and risk management arm, Aquila Inc., that it sold to the public earlier this year and adopt Aquila as its corporate name. The move is a strategic reversal apparently prompted by the weakening economy and industry changes. Executives dodged questions as to whether the move was spurred by the financial troubles at the energy industry’s largest trading house, Enron Corp.
FERC Chairman Pat Wood III said last week that if the Commission can “get ourselves out of the way, then we can move to a deregulated market” that offers more responsive customer service and more technological innovation. Speaking in Washington, DC, before a meeting sponsored by Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) and Accenture, Wood said he wanted to let the Commission become a “much more distant referee,” and hopes his tenure leads to an “urgency to end the debate” that will lead to full competition within the power market.
Natural gas futures dipped then rallied Wednesday afternoon, as bulls and bears were caught in a tug-of-war on the news that 111 Bcf was pulled from underground storage facilities last week. With that, March completed its debut as prompt month at $2.08, up 1.3 cents for the session and 5 cents off its $2.03 low notched just 20 minutes prior at 2:10 p.m. EST. Estimated volume was average at 80,499.
In a surprise announcement last Wednesday, UtiliCorp United said it plans to buy back the 20% of its trading and risk management arm, Aquila Inc., that it sold to the public earlier this year and adopt Aquila as its corporate name. The move comes as a strategic reversal apparently prompted by the weakening economy and industry changes. Executives dodged questions as to whether the move was spurred by the financial troubles at the energy industry’s largest trading house, Enron Corp.