The cash market largely ignored weakening weather fundamentals Friday and sent prices higher at most points. Only plunges in the Rockies and at Transco Zone 6-New York City ran contrary to the overall firmness.

Sources agreed that the weekend upticks were based solely on the carryover impact of the screen’s highly bullish response Thursday to the EIA storage report. Most of Thursday morning’s cash business had been completed by the time Nymex started its climb, so there was little effect on the physical market that day.

Though still more expensive than other Northeast citygates, Zone 6-NYC dropped a little more than 40 cents to further reduce the big premium it had experienced earlier in the week during a heat wave. Evidence of the region’s declining power generation load came from steep dives in Nepool (New England) and PJM-West electricity prices for Monday delivery.

“I don’t know why anyone would want to sell [Texas Eastern] M-3 today” since the spread between it and production area numbers didn’t cover variable transport costs, said a Northeast utility buyer. A little more heat will be coming into the area this week but it should be gone by the weekend, he added. The buyer also mentioned that he was still dealing with illiquidity hassles, saying, “Somebody’s got to step in and fill the breach left by these struggling energy merchants.”

Florida citygates rose by a little more than a dime into the mid $3.60s to rank alongside Zone 6-NYC at the top of the price mountain. A utility buyer in the state noted that Florida Gas Transmission had tightened the imbalance tolerance Friday on an OFO-like notice (see Transportation Notes), but doubted that had much to do with the citygate increase, attributing it more to the previous day’s screen spike.

“I don’t really know why the Rockies got so weak,” said a western marketer. Prices started below Thursday’s levels and kept going lower all morning, he said, adding that Opal got a bid as low as $1.10 at the end. He reported hearing that the Shute Creek Plant would be back up to 100% processing levels on Monday, which would add to regional supply. Also, an estimated 60 MMcf/d in constraints on Questar’s South Mainline ended Friday, further adding to available gas, the marketer said. Another Rockies trader observed the area was due to cool off considerably, saying high temperatures in her city were nearly 100 degrees Friday, but expected to drop to the mid 80s Saturday.

An aggregator observed that the Permian Basin-SoCal border spread narrowed to barely a nickel for the weekend. No one should be moving Permian gas to border with the spread that tight, he said, but some are because they contracted for transportation at first-of-month prices and thus need to use their capacity regardless. The economics wouldn’t work for new Permian/border IT deals, though, he said.

A marketer said pretty much everything he sold in the Midwest went to power plant load, saying it was tough to find any other markets. He counted himself among those who think “following the screen” was the only reason prices went up Friday.

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