Even though underground storage withdrawals have been relatively strong and have come early this winter heating season, countervailing influences to the market are also developing for the nation. For example, recent revisions downward of expected snowfall and thus water availability for hydro-electric power during 2011are still more positive than expectations were one year ago and the overall hydro-forecast may help temper gas-fired requirements for power generation in the west this year.
With that said, short-term pricing for natural gas has firmed into the $4.40-4.55 per MMBtu range as cold weather forecasts in January have persisted and short positions in the financial markets have been covered. Market stability given the temperature and weather challenges has been extraordinary.
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