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Western Price Survey

February 13, 2015
Western Weather Responsible for Dampening U.S. Energy Demand

Continued warm weather across the western United States continues dampening natural gas and power demand in the region as well as nationally.

Although there were several near-record natural gas withdrawals earlier this winter, withdrawals to date have not matched last year's records and are 16 percent less than the five-year average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"There is a lot of natural gas available and the market is struggling to figure out what to do with it all," noted Enerfax.

Working gas in storage reached 2,268 Bcf as of Feb. 6, according to EIA estimates, a net decrease of 160 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 31.4 percent greater than a year ago and 0.5 percent less than the five-year average.

During the report week, natural gas storage in the West posted no net change.

"Above-average temperatures experienced in the western half of the United States so far this winter have offset the effects of colder weather in other parts of the country," stated the EIA. This has "dampened overall natural gas consumption."

Natural gas prices rose in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, with Henry Hub gas spot values up 23 cents since Feb. 5 to trade Feb. 12 at $2.88/MMBtu. Western natural gas prices gained between 15 and 35 cents over the period. Opal natural gas gained the most, rising 35 cents to end at $2.57/MMBtu.

Average prices for Western peak power rose between 75 cents/MWh (South of Path 15) and $6/MWh (Mid-Columbia) in the Feb. 6 to Feb. 13 trading period. Average daytime prices ranged from $19.50/MWh at Mid-C to $33.05 at South of Path 15.

Average off-peak prices varied, with values at Northwestern hubs down roughly $6/MWh. California-Oregon Border posted the greatest loss, tumbling $6.60 to $10/MWh; however, Mid-C spot prices ranged from $1 to $14 during the week.

By contrast, Palo Verde nighttime power gained $2.15 to finish at $20.90/MWh. Average off-peak prices Friday ranged from $6.50/MWh at Mid-C to $20.90/MWh at Palo Verde.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 30,066 MW Feb. 12, which should be the week's high.

Warm, dry conditions are expected across the western U.S. into the week of Feb. 16. Even Seattle should see dry, sunny weather with highs in the 50s [Linda Dailey Paulson].

Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.

The Western Price Survey is excerpted from Energy NewsData's comprehensive regional news services. See for yourself how NewsData reporters put events in an accurate and meaningful context -- request a sample of either or both California Energy Markets and Clearing Up.

Please contact with questions or comments about this site.

Contact Chris Raphael, editor with questions regarding Price Survey Content.

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