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Western Price Survey

September 16, 2016
Natural Gas Storage Additions Have Slowed, but Inventory Is High

Additions to natural gas storage have slowed since April, but inventory remains robust and the injection season could last until November.

The traditional gas injection season started in April with natural gas inventory at an all-time high of 2,480 Bcf, which was 874 Bcf above the five-year average. Between April 1 and Sept. 7, natural gas added into storage totaled 957 Bcf, which EIA stated is roughly 46 percent less than injections last year, and 37 percent below the five-year average.

However, storage amounts are still high. Working natural gas in storage was 3,499 Bcf as of Sept. 9, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 62 Bcf compared to the previous week. Storage levels are now 5.6 percent greater than a year ago and 9.3 percent greater than the five-year average.

The injection season typically ends at the end of October, although in recent years inventory additions have continued into November.

Henry Hub gas spot values rose 12 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $2.96/MMBtu Sept. 15.

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Western natural gas prices added between 4 and 17 cents in trading. Alberta natural gas posted the greatest gains, up 17 cents to $1.96/MMBtu.

Natural gas used for power generation climbed 6 percent week over week, “driven by higher demand in the Midcontinent,” according to the EIA.

Peak power prices across the West rose, adding between 95 cents and as much as $7.10 in trading. South of Path 15 gained the most, adding $7.10 to $39.25/MWh in Sept. 9 to 16 trading.

Average nighttime power prices varied. Palo Verde saw the greatest gains, up $1.50 to $24.45/MWh. Pacific Northwest values tumbled roughly $5 in the trading period.

Demand peaked on the CAISO grid at 31,374 MW Sept. 15, which should be the high for the week.

Total renewable-energy generation peaked at 13,485 MW on Sept. 12 at 2 p.m., with about 7,600 MW coming from solar and 3,500 MW from wind.

Northwest Power Pool energy use reached 53,001 MW Sept. 12, but the week’s high use was projected to occur Sept. 16, when demand was forecast to reach 53,100 MW. [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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