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Western Price Survey

September 30, 2016
Natural Gas Storage Additions Slowing

Although natural gas continues to be added to storage, the rate is slower than in previous years.

Working natural gas in storage was 3,600 Bcf as of Sept. 23, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 49 Bcf compared to the previous week.

During this same week last year, the average net addition was 99 Bcf. The five-year average net addition is 97 Bcf, according to the agency.

Overall, however, gas storage levels are robust. Storage is 2.6 percent greater than a year ago and 6.5 percent greater than the five-year average.

In terms of gas prices, Henry Hub spot values dropped 20 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $2.95/MMBtu Sept. 29.

Western natural gas prices followed suit, falling between 6 and 26 cents in trading. Southern California Border natural gas lost the most value in the trading period, down 26 cents to $2.77/MMBtu. PG&E CityGate managed to remain above the $3 mark at $3.36/MMBtu.

Power Prices Tumble

Over the trading week, power prices across the West fell between roughly $11.25/MWh and as much as $16.30/MWh. South of Path 15 dropped the most, tumbling $16.30 to $30.30/MWh in the trading period. Prices ranged from $22.20 at Mid-Columbia to $33.50/MWh at North of Path 15.

Power trades made on Thursday, Sept. 29, were posted for Oct. 1 delivery. No trades occurred Sept. 30.

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Average nighttime power prices followed suit, dropping between $3.30 and as much as $8.10. The California Oregon-Border saw the greatest loss, down $8.10 to $23.20/MWh (see chart).

Demand peaked on the CAISO grid at 42,810 MW Sept. 26, which should be the high for the week. Northwest Power Pool use reached 54,818 MW that same day.

In September, average natural gas prices were higher compared to the same month last year (see “Price Trends,” next page). The average high price at Henry Hub was $3.14/MMBtu, which was 40 cents higher than in 2015. Gas prices at Western hubs ranged from 19 cents to 37 cents/MMBtu higher than in September 2015.

In contrast, average Western power prices in September were lower by $1 to $5/MWh versus 2015 prices. COB was the exception at $1.70 more than the average high price in 2015. [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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