With a little extra push from the previous day’s prompt-month futures decline of 6.9 cents, the cash market finally acknowledged Wednesday that based on generally subpar cooling load in many areas, its moderate strength in the first two days of the week had largely been defying the law of price gravity.
Expectations of a rising storage injection volume being reported Thursday may have been an additional bearish influence on declines at all but one point that ranged from a couple of pennies to a little more than a dime.
The Florida citygate recorded the day’s sole gain of about 35 cents after Florida Gas Transmission issued an Overage Alert Day (see Transportation Notes). However, all production-area numbers into Florida Gas fell.
Thursday’s cash trading for end-of-July flows will continue to lack any prior-day screen support after August futures went off the board Wednesday with a drop of 15.6 cents (see related story).
Although concerns about rapidly disappearing storage injection capacity continue, especially after Southern Natural Gas reported that its facilities were 93% full a week ago (see Daily GPI, July 29), Questar Corp. indicated in an earnings conference call that the problem was easing somewhat in the Rockies (see related story).
Even Pacific Northwest prices dropped despite Thursday highs predicted to approach 100 (although Portland, OR, would see its peak drop from around 104 Wednesday to the 97 area Thursday). Otherwise, most of the West will be fairly cool outside continuing scorching conditions in the desert Southwest and parts of interior California.
Peak temperatures in the Midwest and most of the South outside Texas-Louisiana are due to remain below normal for late July, and although the Northeast will still be a bit above normal, it will stay limited to the upper 80s at most.
Kern River continued to report low linepack in the three farthest downstream of its four system segments Wednesday, which helped quotes into the pipe see one of the day’s smallest decreases. Questar recorded one of the other minimum dips after announcing it was lifting a restriction on imbalance paybacks to the pipeline (see Transportation Notes).
However, PG&E, which on Tuesday projected linepack on its California Gas Transmission system to be just below maximum target levels through Friday, said Wednesday it now expects linepack to be comfortably within its desired maximum and minimum volumes. That didn’t prevent the PG&E citygate from joining the overall softness with a drop of nearly a dime.
A marketer in the Upper Midwest said there was virtually no cooling load left in her area, with overnight lows in the 60s and daytime highs in the 70s. For August bidweek she reported paying Consumers Energy basis of plus 7 cents but didn’t buy anything on MichCon for a change. The owner of the company “felt like we got burned” on paying too-high MichCon basis for July, she said, adding that offers of August baseload supply were plentiful.
The screen signaled sizeable drops in first-of-month indexes as the August contract’s settlement at $3.379 was 57 cents less than the July closeout at $3.949.
SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Cameron Horwitz expects a 75 Bcf storage injection to be announced Thursday for the week ending July 24. He said his estimate of a higher sequential injection from the previous week was largely attributable to a week-on-week drop in gas-fired power generation amid a 10% reduction in cooling degree days, which was partly offset by lower LNG imports and slightly higher exports to Canada and Mexico.
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