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Western Price Survey

March 25, 2016
Natural Gas Production Boosts Storage

Natural gas production shows no sign of tapering, leaving the market in oversupply thanks to continued tepid demand.

Domestic natural gas production reached 73.3 Bcf/day on average in February, up 1.4 Bcf/d versus January, according to a Platts Bentek analysis. This is the highest production level recorded since the firm began tracking the data in 2005.

"The natural gas production record achieved in February is largely attributed to the Northeast, which also is still helping offset the declines seen in other major U.S. basins," said Sami Yahya, an analyst with Platts Bentek.

Working natural gas in storage was at a record-high 2,493 Bcf as of March 18, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 15 Bcf compared to the previous week. Storage levels are now 68.9 percent greater than a year ago and 51.4 percent greater than the five-year average.

Henry Hub gas spot values lost 2 cents in Thursday-to-Wednesday trading, ending at $1.81/MMBtu March 23.

Markets were closed Friday, March 25, in observance of Good Friday.

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Western natural gas average values varied, with the majority of hubs eroding between 1 and 10 cents in trading. PG&E CityGate and Southern California Border natural gas were exceptions, ticking up nominally in trading. Sumas posted the greatest loss, down 10 cents to $1.45/MMBtu.

Western peak power prices varied in March 18 to March 24 trading. South of Path 15 values dropped $4.25, to $18/MWh, while California-Oregon Border prices rose 75 cents to $16/MWh. Prices ranged from $14.55 at Mid-Columbia to $20.25 at North of Path 15.

Nighttime power values dropped roughly $2 on average, led by Palo Verde, down $2.50 to $14.80/MWh. Prices Thursday ranged from $9.75 at Mid-C to $16 at South of Path 15.

Demand peaked on the Cal-ISO grid at 28,454 MW March 23, which should be the week's high. Total renewables production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 10,480 MW March 22. Solar generation reached a record-high instantaneous peak output of 7,095 MW March 24, surpassing the March 19 record of 7,012 MW.

The latest California snow-water equivalent measured 25.1 inches, or 89 percent of the March 24 average, according to the California Department of Water Resources [Linda Dailey Paulson].

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

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

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