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Western Price Survey

April 7, 2017
Pacific Adds to Natural Gas Stores

National natural gas storage increased this week, which the U.S. Energy Information Administration partially attributes to inventory additions in the Pacific region.

The South Central and Pacific regions both added inventory, according to the agency. The Pacific region recorded a 4 Bcf injection, which was 2 Bcf greater than its five-year average.

Working natural gas in storage was 2,051 Bcf as of March 31, according to EIA estimates. This is a net increase of 2 Bcf compared to the previous week.

Storage levels are now 17.2 percent less than a year ago and 14.8 percent greater than the five-year average.

Henry Hub gas spot values added 16 cents between March 31 and April 6, ending at $3.23/MMBtu.

Western natural gas prices gained between 16 and 23 cents in trading. Malin recorded the greatest gain, adding 23 cents to reach $2.89/MMBtu. Alberta natural gas proved the exception, eroding 2 cents to $1.96/MMBtu.

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Meanwhile, Western peak power prices gained between 5 cents and as much as $5.65 in March 31 to April 7 trading. Mid-C peak power values swung abruptly again this week, with a one-day fall of $15.10 followed by the hub average ticking up $14.25 in a single day’s trading between April 6 and April 7.

For nighttime power, Mid-Columbia dropped into negative pricing. By week’s end, Pacific Northwest hubs were down between $2.65 and $6.15. In contrast, Palo Verde off-peak power gained $6.85 to hit $24.65/MWh.

The California statewide snowpack has a 44.4-inch snow-water equivalent, which is 161 percent of the April 7 average, according to the California Department of Water Resources.

Generation levels at the 1,190 MW Columbia Generating Station have been parked at 65 percent since March 31, after the Bonneville Power Administration asked for the curtailment to accommodate high river flows. Before that it had been coasting toward an 80 percent target on May 13, when it is slated to go off line for a 40-day refueling and maintenance outage.

In March, average natural gas prices were higher than those in March 2016 (see “Price Trends,” next page). The average high price at Henry Hub was $3.09/MMBtu, which was about $1.15/MMBtu more than in 2016. Prices at Western hubs were roughly 95 cents to $1.20/MMBtu higher than in the same month last year.

Average Western power prices in March were between $4.75 and $10 greater than in the same month last year, with the greatest hike at North of Path 15 [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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