The overall cash market was far from a model of consistencyWednesday. While prices rose by up to a nickel at Gulf Coastpoints, Northeast citygates were no more than flat to up a penny.In contrast, while Michigan and Chicago-area citygates saw gains of2-3 cents, field prices in the Midcontinent were mostly flat around$2.10. However, a Midcontinent producer found it “a littlesurprising” that trading ended on a modestly strong note with latedeals tending to be near the top of small ranges.

Then there were the western markets, where softness was theorder of the day. The biggest drop of about a dime occurred in SanJuan Basin, where the end of El Paso’s Blanco outage was allowingmore constrained gas to return to the market for today’s flow.Permian gas, being displaced at the California border by returningSan Juan supplies, saw a smaller decline of about a nickel, whileWaha stayed flat on either side of $2.10, buoyed by airconditioning demand in Texas and (to a lesser degree) in theMidwest.

Border prices for California, where temperatures are stayingcool, were off by 5-7 cents. This came even with recent modestspikes in the state’s electricity prices, sources said. One thoughtthe power price hikes resulted from “some perceived transmissionconstraint,” maybe on lines coming into the state. However, he alsobelieved those constraints didn’t really materialize and that powerprices were heading back down Wednesday.

Gas prices are bound “to get really ugly” in the Southwestbasins and at the California border for the Memorial Day weekend,especially in light of a potential OFO by PG&E (seeTransportation Notes), a marketer predicted.

Though everything was to the downside, Rockies/Pacific Northwestpoints saw almost as much price change variance as the generalmarket. CIG-DJ Basin quotes were down a bare 2 cents, but KernRiver was falling by more than a nickel. And though Stanfieldpricing dropped almost a nickel, the Canadian export point of Sumasinto Northwest was flat in the high $1.30s.

Depending on who you talked to, the AGA report of 92 Bcf waseither much higher than many people expected (see GasFax predictionin Daily GPI, May 20) or in line with projections, according to aproducer. Regardless, the further addition to year-on-year surpluswas considered a bearish sign for cash as storage demand isexpected to start waning fairly soon.

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