Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Natural Gas Pricing Still Midwest Uncertain

HOUSTON, Apr. 28, 2009

Spot natural gas prices in the Upper Midwest fell in most areas Monday as the May NYMEX gas contract followed equity markets down on fears of a world-wide swine flu epidemic, and the possibility of major storms forecast for the Midcontinent reaching as far as Illinois.

Prices between Nicor Gas' city-gates and other Chicago city-gate points--Peoples Gas Light and Coke and Nipsco--remained far apart. Nicor, however, dropped nearly 10 cents after it announced that all delivery caps to its city-gates would be lifted on Tuesday.

It averaged in the mid-$3/MMBtu on IntercontinentalExchange. Peoples and Nipsco were more stable, gaining around a cent and losing a couple of cents, respectively, to hit a similar mid-point to Nicor.

Michigan city-gate prices dropped considerably more, with Michigan Consolidated Gas losing almost 15 cents to land in the mid-$3.40s/MMBtu. Consumers Energy, however, came off only half as much, coming in almost 10 cents above MichCon.

Cash in the production area dropped as well, with Northern Natural Gas' demarcation point prices weathering the drops the best, losing less than 5 cents for a mid-point in the mid-$2.80s/MMBtu.

Ventura, Iowa, prices fell around 10 cents, with Northern Border Pipeline-Ventura hovering around $3/MMBtu, and Northern Natural-Ventura more than 10 cents under that.

A tornado touched down in eastern Iowa over the weekend and more may reach there from storms in the Mississippi valley, according to forecasts.

Story by Joshua Starnes from Platts

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