U.S. spot natgas price firm again amid gulf outage (PG&E unscheduled shutdown)

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US spot natgas prices firm again amid Gulf outage


NEW YORK, Jan 11 (Reuters) - U.S. spot natgas prices held onto recent gains on Tuesday as production cuts in the Gulf and a consistent swing demand supported the market, industry sources said.

Deals at Henry Hub, La., were reported done mostly at $2.23 per mmBtu, indicating a gain of about three to four cents from Monday. Late business was reported done at $2.25.

Topping outage news was the maintenance on NGPL at Holly Beach in Cameron Parish, La., through Thursday, which is cutting flows to zero and making deliveries unavailable at the Stingray interconnect. The volume affected by the outage was said to be at least 500 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), according to market sources. Also in the news, Northern said the outage at the Mustang Island offshore platform has been extended through Friday after shutting earlier this month.

Also, Northern said it will shut its Spraberry 4 unit in Texas Jan. 15 to April 30 for foundation repairs. Combined delivery capacity at Lonestar Spraberry and Valero Spraberry points will be limited to 80 mmcfd.

PG&E Gas said its compressor unit at Falfurrias in Texas is expected to return to service by next Monday after being shut for an unscheduled outage.

The outage, which reduced capacity to 65 percent in the area, was affecting deliveries to NGPL and Trunkline, the company said.

At the New York city-gate, prices on Transco started off the morning in the low-$2.70s but ended up the session in the mid-$2.50s. The bulk of the business was reported in the mid-$2.60s, sources said, which would be fairly close to yesterday's average.

Appalachian prices on Columbia were assessed at $2.33-2.34, widening the premium to Hub to about 12-13 cents from the previous nine to 10 cents. CNG South was pegged at $2.36-2.39.

In the news, CNG's Lebanon 4 compressor unit in Ohio is expected to be out of service through Jan. 21 for maintenance.

In the Midwest, trading on pipes like Panhandle and ANR was reported at $2.13-2.17, while NGPL was quoted mostly at $2.12-2.14, both markets up about four cents from Monday.

Chicago was pegged at $2.28, while Northern at Demarcation rose to $2.18-2.20, sources said.

Trailblazer said it will perform maintenance at its compressor station No. 602 in Lincoln County, Neb., through Friday.

Also, maintenance is scheduled on NGPL's Arkoma line at Compressor Station 812 (Segment 16) in Atoka County, Okla., on Feb. 8-17.

In the West, Permian prices were seen mostly at $2.16 today, while San Juan deals were reported done at $2.11-2.15. Southern California border prices were talked a little higher at $2.36-2.38, sources said.

Still absent from the market was the 1,270-MW Palo Verde 2 nuclear unit in Arizona, which was shut last Wednesday due to a steam leak in the secondary system. It is now not expected to restart until Friday.

Already back in service was the 350-MW San Juan 1 coal-fired unit in New Mexico, which was taken off line this past weekend for repairs. Public Service Co. of New Mexico operates the plant.

And Transwestern's Unit 3 at the Station 4 compressor station in Arizona is expected to remain down through Sunday after shutting on Jan. 1. The outage is cutting total capacity west of Thoreau to about 925 mmcfd.

El Paso said its Caprock 1 turbine in New Mexico will be unavailable today, reducing San Juan Crossover capacity to 600 mmcfd.

Also, the Gallup B turbine in New Mexico will be down Jan. 19 and Jan. 20, El Paso said, which will reduce San Juan Basin capacity by 80 mmcfd.

A number of other El Paso outages are scheduled to start later this month and into next month. They are as follows:

--Roswell 2 compressor, New Mexico, down through Jan. 13, reducing San Juan Crossover capacity by 30 mmcfd

--Dutch Flat 1 turbine, Ariz., down Jan. 17-21, reducing Havasu Crossover capacity by 50 mmcfd

--Dutch Flat 2 turbine, Ariz., down Jan. 17-21, reducing Havasu Crossover capacity by 50 mmcfd

--Rio Vista turbine, New Mexico, down Jan. 17-20, limiting volumes to 125 mmcfd

--Flagstaff station, Ariz., down Jan. 18-19, reducing North Mainline capacity by 100 mmcfd

--Navajo D2 turbine, Ariz., down Jan. 24-Feb. 2, reducing North Mainline capacity by 50 mmcfd

--Cornudas A plant, down Jan. 25-26, reducing South Mainline capacity by 200 mmcfd.

* denotes change from previous day

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), January 12, 2000

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