Cash traders in markets outside the West, taking encouragementfrom patches of cold weather (both existing and predicted) and ascreen that briefly tested the waters above $3 Friday morning,pushed weekend prices higher by about a nickel in the Gulf Coastand Midcontinent/Midwest to more than a dime in the Northeast.

Even though no new high-inventory OFOs materialized from the twobig California distributors, concerns about their possibility keptprices at most western points flat to slightly lower. Friday’smarket somewhat resembled Thursday’s in trading higher early beforefalling on OFO worries, a marketer said, but then there was a verysmall rebound late Friday when people were asssured of no OFOs.

Once again PG&E citygates saw the day’s biggest drop threecents. “It kind of surprised me that PG&E didn’t extend its OFOwhen it was still projecting over-target linepack” for Sunday andtoday, a marketer said (that afternoon the utility revised itslinepack projections to “within operating limits” through today).Nevertheless, the marketer and other sources said they would bewary of OFO alerts over the weekend.

Even though the Northeast was getting a slight reprieve fromcolder weather Friday, the region’s market-leading price gains werepredicated on forecasts of an approaching cold front. There’s goingto be enough weekend weather in the Northeast to make a difference,one trader said, but the major impact likely wouldn’t hit untilsometime Sunday. “That had quite a few utilities saying we’re finefor Saturday [gas], but wanting to do one-day or two-day deals forthe subsequent period.”

An aggregator said he was heading for GasMart/Power 2000 inDenver seeing “a general bullish tone all around” because theNortheast cold was expected to last through much of this week. Anda Midcontinent marketer said, “We thought the screen holding onaround $2.98 until after cash finished trading” was another bullishsign. A lot of people are starting to see $3.10-12 May futures as adistinct possibility, he added.

A producer reporting intra-Alberta prices up modestly into thehigh C$3.60s said linepack was below NOVA’s target, “but they seemcomfortable with it for now.” However, he said he wouldn’t besurprised to see the pipeline change imbalance tolerances over theweekend.

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