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Western Price Survey

October 31, 2014
October Ends on a Mixed Note

Traders saw a few treats and some tricks in this week's Western energy prices, with higher natural gas values and mixed electricity prices.

Natural gas prices rose, with Henry Hub gas spot values up 14 cents since last Thursday to trade Oct. 30 at $3.74/MMBtu. Western natural gas prices added between 10 and 29 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading. PG&E CityGate gained 10 cents to $4.24/MMBtu, while both Stanfield and Sumas increased 29 cents to $3.62 and $3.59.

"Forecasts of below-normal temperatures for the coming weekend raised spot and front month prices by about 20 cents over the course of the week," noted Barclays analysts in their weekly report. Overall, however, strong production continues pressuring prices.

Working gas in storage reached 3,480 Bcf as of Oct. 24, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 87 Bcf from the previous week, and slightly more than forecast. Storage levels are now 7.8 percent less than a year ago and 8.2 percent less than the five-year average.

The injection season traditionally spans from April 1 through Oct. 31, although during the past 11 years, injections continued into November. The EIA had forecast Oct. 7 that the end-of-October working natural gas inventory level would be 3,532 Bcf. To meet this prediction, an additional 52 Bcf would have to be added the last week of October. The 2009-2013 average peak storage level is 3,855 Bcf.

The EIA noted there was a 0.2 percent uptick in natural gas demand for power generation during its report week. Natural gas demand in the Pacific Northwest fell 14 percent, but was offset by increased demand in Texas and the Southeast.

Meanwhile, Western peak power prices were a jumble by the end of Friday-to-Friday trading. South of Path 15 and California-Oregon Border posted gains, while Mid-Columbia and Palo Verde values eroded a couple of dollars. By Oct. 31, prices ranged from $31/MWh at Mid-C to $48.30/MWh at SP15.

North of Path 15 posted no trades this week.

Off-peak prices were also mixed, but with values varying nominally. Mid-C lost a quarter to $25.75/MWh, while COB added $1.10 to $29.40. Average off-peak prices Friday ranged from $25.75/MWh at Mid-C to $38.65/MWh at SP15.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid hit 30,763 MW Oct. 29, which should be the week's high [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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