U.S. spot gas prices inch higher on storage demand

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Thursday February 24, 5:41 pm Eastern Time

U.S. spot gas prices inch higher on storage demand

NEW YORK, Feb 24 (Reuters) - U.S. spot natural gas prices rose slightly Thursday despite the unseasonably mild weather throughout the nation, sources said.

Traders blamed the uptick on storage demand, particularly in Texas and the Northeast, and NYMEX's reluctance to break down.

Swing cash prices at Henry Hub were quoted mostly at $2.51-2.52 per mmBtu this morning, indicating a gain of about 2 cents from Wednesday.

Florida Gas said it will perform maintenance again today at its Compressor Station 4 in Texas. The outage is limiting volumes at Zone 1 in Bay City, Texas, to 190 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd), the company said.

Also, the outage at Johnson's Bayou in Louisiana is continuing and expected to last until April 1. The Transco-Vinton/Calcasieu interconnect is completely shut in while operators replace three compressor units.

ANR said it will begin summer maintenance on Southeast Mainline engines March 13 and continuing until the end of May. The outage is expected to reduce capacity by about 100 mmcfd.

In the Northeast, New York city gate prices on Transco were quoted most of the morning at $2.80-2.85, but some renewed buying interest in late morning activity sparked a move to $3 and higher, sources said.

Following a 60-degree day in New York, temperatures are expected to cool several degrees on Friday, Weather Services Corp. said.

Also, there was about 153 megawatts (MW) of nuclear energy missing from the New York market due to the power reduction at the 614-MW Nine Mile Point 2 unit. The company declined to comment on the status of the plant.

Consolidated Edison said its 975-MW Indian Point 2 nuclear unit in New York will likely remain shut until the last week of March after shutting Feb. 15 due to a tube leak. It is scheduled to shut for refueling in late April.

In the Appalachian region, prices on Columbia recovered to about $2.63, while CNG was quoted mostly in the mid- to high-$2.60s.

CNG's Lebanon 2 and 3 units in Ohio will be shut through Friday for maintenance after being taken off line Tuesday.

In the Midwest, prices on pipes like Panhandle and ANR firmed 2 cents to the mid- to high-$2.30s. Chicago city gate rose to about $2.56, while Northern at Demarcation was quoted at $2.38-2.44.

Northern said it will be performing maintenance next month on several units along its system in the Field Zone, which stretches from Kansas into Oklahoma and Texas.

--March 6-30--Beaver County 3 (4 mmcfd) --March 15-16--Stevens County 2 (2 mmcfd) --March 20-24--Finney County 3 (4 mmcfd) --March 28-29--Clark County 1 (5 mmcfd)

Northern's Spraberry unit 4, shut on Jan. 15, is expected to remain down until April 30 while operators make foundation repairs. Delivery capacity at the Lonestar and Valero interconnects will be limited to 80 mmcfd during the outage.

Also, the Cargray plant will be shut until further notice after shutting on Feb. 10, affecting about 2-4 mmcfd. A force majeure was declared on Feb. 9 at the outlet of the Haiduk compressor station.

In the West, El Paso Permian traded at $2.35-2.40, while San Juan remained quiet at $2.33-2.35 and Waha was quoted at $2.40-2.42.

Next-day prices at the Southern California border regained 2 cents to about $2.60-2.61, sources said.

KN said its Casper compressor station in Wyoming will be shut March 1-March 17 for its annual overhaul. During the outage, the maximum capacity at the station will be reduced about 17 mmcfd, affecting shippers nominating receipts upstream of the station from Segments 10, 30, 43, 710 and 720, KN said.

Also scheduled for next month is an outage at KN's Holcomb compressor station in Kansas on March 13-March 17, impacting receipts into the system from the Lakin/Holcomb interconnect which will be limited to 54 mmcfd. Another outage is scheduled at its Lexington compressor station on March 20-March 31.

CIG said one unit at its Cheyenne WIC Compressor Station in Wyoming will be shut March 7-March 8 for scheduled maintenance, reducing capacity through the station by 75 mmcfd.

PG&E Gas Transmission-Northwest said it will shut its Station 7 in Starbuck, Wash., and a portion of the mainline today to repair a station valve.

The capacity at Station 7 will be restricted to 2,120 mmcfd, which will limit capacity at Kingsgate (Idaho/British Columbia border) to about 2,340 mmcfd.

El Paso outages scheduled through March 2 include:

--Feb. 22-24, Laguna #1 compressor, New Mexico, reducing San Juan Crossover capacity by 40 mmcfd

--Feb. 28-March 2, Roswell #3 compressor, New Mexico, reducing San Juan Crossover capacity by 30 mmcfd

--Feb. 29-March 1, Cornudas B turbine, reducing South Mainline capacity by 100 mmcfd

Transwestern Pipeline outages are as follows (capacity restrictions):

--Apr. 3-9, Bloomfield Station, N.M., reducing San Juan Lateral capacity by 800 mmcfd Apr. 3-5, by 200 mmcfd Apr. 6 and limited to 70 mmcfd to Public Service of New Mexico Apr. 3-9

--Apr. 3-6 (in conjunction with Bloomfield outage), Bisti Station, N.M., reductions same as above

--Apr. 3-12, West Mainline stations 1,2,3,4, reducing West of Thoreau capacity (normal--953 mmcfd) by 453 mmcfd Apr. 3-5, by 238 mmcfd Apr. 6, by 223 mmcfd Apr. 7-9 and by 73 mmcfd Apr. 10-12

--Apr. 12-21, La Plata Station, N.M., reducing capacity by 175 mmcfd Apr. 12-16 and by 200 mmcfd Apr. 17-21

* denotes change from previous day's report

For the latest U.S. spot natural gas prices type NG-US and hit F3.

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), February 24, 2000


Natural gas futures - March, 2000

-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@inbellfry.com), February 24, 2000.

Thanks, Homer for your continued efforts.

As I recall, the Lebanon, Ohio compressor units were down in January for maintenance as well. Seems to be a lot of maintenance, much of it unscheduled, during the peak demand heating season.

I wonder if we will ever learn what part of this is Y2K related?

-- Bill P (porterwn@one.net), February 25, 2000.

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