The swing trading pattern immediately following Christmas didn’tseem very much different from the days preceding the holiday: agenerally softer market, with declines of up to a dime Monday atmost points, arrayed against conspicuously higher prices fordeliveries into the New York City area. One thing that did change,however, was generally flat numbers for the Rockies and California,markets that had participated in the overall weakness last week.
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In activity that was predictably very subdued for a day leadinginto the long Christmas weekend, prices ranged from flat to down afew cents Thursday. As one source commented, “Man, I’ve seen deadmarkets before, but this one seems to be rotting in the grave.”Somewhat in keeping with that remark, a marketer said many of hertrading partners had only “skeleton crews” in the office, andvirtually nobody was still around after lunchtime.
A very divided FERC last week dealt a potentially crippling blowto the controversial Independence Pipeline and associatedSupplyLink and MarketLink expansion projects, requiring them toshow documented proof of binding, long-term contracts for more thantwo-thirds of their project’s firm capacity before they can beginconstruction, as well as to satisfy more than 100 environmentalconditions. The Commission dismissed a major affiliate contract,casting doubt on the market support for the eastward-boundIndependence and SupplyLink projects.
Maybe it was because it was Thanksgiving, but FERC was in a veryunderstanding mood last week. It agreed Natural Gas Pipeline Co.of America (NGPL) had failed to justify the need for a proposedtariff change that would hold a “party tendering gas” liable forpipeline facility damages that are caused by lower-quality gasentering NGPL’s system. The Commission, however, didn’t reject theproposal.
It was a mostly softer swing market Monday, but with very littleconsistency in price movement. New quotes ranged from down around20 cents at Northeast citygates, which tended to see last week’sbiggest increases, to 2-5 cents higher in California, where alow-inventory OFO by PG&E helped boost demand. Other points inbetween were flat to down more than a nickel, with most of thedrops being in the vicinity of a nickel.
Even with favorable momentum at FERC Questar’s Southern TrailsPipeline won’t get very far without California regulatory help inremoving what it views as the main impediment to its locking upmulti-year deals with at least three large end-users who currentlyship gas on SoCalGas.
Even with favorable momentum at FERC (see NGI, Oct. 11), Questar’s Southern Trails Pipeline won’t get very far without California regulatory help in removing what it views as the main impediment to its locking up multi-year deals with at least three large end-users who currently ship gas on SoCalGas.
There were very few places outside the extreme southwesterncorner of the U.S. still seeing high temperatures any greater than70 degrees Tuesday, and the growing chill was manifested in furthergas price increases. Though milder than Monday’s gains and almostnon-existent in California and parts of the Rockies, the new pricehikes were generally on either side of a dime in the Gulf Coast,Midcontinent/Midwest and Northeast. Much like the day before,Northeast citygates tended to rise the most between 10 and 14cents.
FERC last week may very well have given California’s natural gasmarket, which so far has been slow to open up to full competition,a nudge in the right direction when it awarded a preliminarydetermination to a pipeline that plans that give SouthernCalifornia Gas (SoCalGas) a run for its money in the southern halfof the state.