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Western Price Survey

February 17, 2017
A California Spring Flush With Energy

As of Feb. 17, the California snowpack has a 38-inch snow-water equivalent, which is 174 percent of the average for that date, according to the Department of Water Resources.

The eight-station index for precipitation is at 220 percent of average for this date, according to the Feb. 16 Daily Statewide Hydrologic Update. CAISO is predicting that with bountiful hydro and renewables, this spring may see generation curtailments on the order of 8,000 MW (see story at [12]).

Meanwhile, the natural gas withdrawal season could end with record amounts of gas in storage, which would likely further depress prices this spring.

Working natural gas in storage was 2,445 Bcf as of Feb. 10, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This is a net decrease of 114 Bcf compared to the previous week, and less than the market expected.

Storage levels are now 11 percent less than a year ago and 3.7 percent greater than the five-year average.

Should natural gas use patterns follow the five-year average through the rest of the heating season, the EIA projects there will be 1,885 Bcf of natural gas in storage on March 31.

Storage surpassed 1,900 Bcf at the end of winter in 2012 and 2016, which had “warmer-than-normal temperatures and relatively light heating demand for natural gas,” noted the agency.

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Natural gas demand across the United States decreased 4 percent week over week. Natural gas used for power generation lost 2 percent versus the previous week.

Henry Hub gas spot values lost 18 cents between Feb. 9 and Feb. 16, ending at $2.92/MMBtu.

Western natural gas prices followed suit, losing between 8 cents and as much as 19 cents. Stanfield natural gas posted the greatest loss, down 19 cents to $2.60/MMBtu. After losing 17 cents in trading, PG&E CityGate was the only Western hub above the $3 mark at $3.30/MMBtu.

Western peak power prices fell between $2.65 and as much as $5.50 in Feb. 10 to Feb. 17 trading. California-Oregon Border daytime power lost $5.50, ending at $19.50/MWh.

Likewise, average nighttime power prices were down between $3.40 and as much as $7.25. COB nighttime values lost $7.25, ending at $16/MWh [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.

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

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