Spring Weather, Flat Futures Prolong Cash Lull

The natural gas cash market went through a second day of overallflatness Wednesday as most of the nation absorbed spring-liketemperatures on St. Patrick’s Day and calmness pervaded the futuresmarket.

March 18, 1999

Winter Weather Worsens, But Prices a Bit Weaker

As many traders had expected, prices were unable to sustain thestrong upward momentum with which they began the week. Even asblizzard conditions got worse Tuesday in several major marketareas, quotes for today’s gas flow were flat to as much as a nickellower. Apparently utilities and other end-users started leaningmuch more heavily on their storage accounts after Monday’s cashrun-up left many points trading well above first-of-month indexes,especially in Eastern markets, one source said.

March 10, 1999

Analysts See Spring Price Plunge Followed by Major Winter Spikes

With weather forecasts producing bearish news at every turn andnational storage reserves looming ever larger, Raymond James &ampAssociates recently published a report projecting spot wellhead gasprices will drop below the $1.50/Mcf level before the beginning ofsummer. The study, however, also warns of a gas “price shock” inearly 2000, when gas shortages run rampant and production is unableto keep up because of sharp declines in exploration and productionspending. It seems the industry is in store for a spot marketroller coaster ride.

February 15, 1999

Warm Weather Casts Shadow Over Futures Market

The futures market gave the impression it was heading higheryesterday when February opened at Tuesday’s high and quickly tradedto $1.85. But the selling dried up, leaving the market vulnerableto light selling for the rest of the session. The February contractclosed down 5.1 cents for the day at $1.77.

January 14, 1999

Prices Fall Despite Frigid Weather

Records for low temperatures were being set Tuesday from theMidwest into the Southeast, but it would have been difficult todiscern that from the broad-based retreat in cash prices. Tradersnoted a falling futures screen and factored in a warming trend thatwas expected to begin in the Midwest as early as Tuesday, then sentcash numbers down by a nickel or more at almost every point.

January 6, 1999

Futures Slip Lower Despite Winter Weather

For the third day in a row Wednesday, natural gas futures werelower as traders continued to discount the arctic cold front andfocus on the larger fundamental picture. Even as a wintry mix ofprecipitation spread from Texas to Washington, D.C. yesterday,sources continued to point to the large storage overhang andforecasts calling for warming temperatures by early next week. Theprompt January contract finished 1.9 cents lower at $1.906.

December 24, 1998

Cash Prices Continue Downward Journey

Cash prices across the board Friday displayed softness for thesecond day in a row, reflecting a moderating weather forecast forthe weekend and further into this week. Despite a small late bounceback in some markets, prices in most areas finished the dayaveraging 1 to 10 cents less than Thursday’s levels.

November 16, 1998

Bull Rally Corralled by Weather, Storage

The futures market was poised to trade higher yesterday onmomentum gained from a string of advances dating back to lastThursday, but revised forecasts calling for seasonable temperaturesand a lack of technical direction took the wind out of bull-tradersails, allowing the market to slip lower. For the second day in arow, changes were more pronounced in the December contract than theprompt month. November slid 2.2 cents lower to settle at $2.18, butDecember lost 2.8 cents to $2.455.

October 22, 1998

Gulf Pipelines Scramble to Serve Burgeoning Production

Three weeks of severe weather in the Gulf of Mexico have leftproducers with their heads spinning and have sent Gulf productionon a roller coaster ride, but producers should find some solace inthe large number of pipeline companies scrambling to serve theirgrowing transportation needs with new projects. In total, the newpipeline expansions announced last week could add more than 1 Bcf/dof additional pipeline access to markets for deep-water supplies.

September 21, 1998

Bulls Enjoy Advances Backed by Positive News

Bulls have not had much to smile about in the last five monthsat the New York Mercantile Exchange, so it was to their surpriseand delight when a trio of factors — storage, technicals, andanother possible tropical storm — combined to lift the marketThursday. The three remaining months in 1998 all received an almostequal boost with October edging out the others slightly byadvancing 6 cents to settle at $1.712 in moderate trading activity.

September 4, 1998