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Western Price Survey

November 2, 2018
BC Natural Gas Flows Ramping Up

The return of Canadian natural gas imports to the Northwest resulted in lower energy prices throughout the region.

Enbridge announced repairs were completed Oct. 31 on its 36-inch transmission pipeline near Prince George, British Columbia that ruptured Oct. 9, and it is returning the line to service.

The TSouth system, which will operate at 80 percent of its normal pressure, will deliver between 820 and 900 MMcf/day of natural gas into British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest, according to Enbridge. Deliveries to northwest Washington power plants have been roughly 200 MMcf/d since the incident, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Sumas natural gas values fell $3.46 in Oct. 25 to Nov. 1 trading, ending at $4.09/MMBtu. The hub had reached a high of $14.12/MMBtu Oct. 29.

Warmer weather didn’t lend support for energy prices, according to the EIA. Western natural gas values dropped between 2 cents and as much as $3.46 in trading. SoCal CityGate fell $1.05 to $4.67/MMBtu and El Paso-San Juan Basin lost $1.13, ending up at $2.20/MMBtu.

Meanwhile, Western daytime power values dropped between $2.35 and as much as $15.55 in Oct. 25 to Nov. 1 trading. Mid-Columbia lost the most value, falling 31 percent week over week to $37.50/MWh.

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Off-peak prices generally followed suit, with Northwest hubs losing the most value. Mid-C nighttime power fell $11.15 to end at $27/MWh. South of Path 15 was the exception, adding $3.95 to end at $41.30/MWh.

California Independent System Operator demand reached 29,927 MW Oct. 26, which should be the week’s high. Total renewables on the CAISO grid reached 12,309 MW Oct. 29, supplying roughly 42 percent of demand. Solar generation reached 8,981 MW Oct. 26, fulfilling roughly 30 percent of demand.

In October, average natural gas prices were generally higher compared with prices in October 2017 (see “Price Trends,” next page). The average high peak price at Henry Hub was $3.37/MMBtu, 36 cents more than in 2017.

Western hub prices in October were roughly a dollar more year over year, save for Southern California Border natural gas, which was 50 cents less at $3.49/MMBtu.

Average Western power prices in October 2017 were propelled by heat extremes, which sent SP15 daytime power to $120.90/MWh. In 2018, values at California hubs were between $50.30 and as much as $70.25 less than the average prices recorded in 2017. Northwest power prices spiked in 2018 following gas-import supply disruptions. California-Oregon Border prices were $41.25 higher, at $110/MWh, and Mid-C was $72.74 higher than 2017 at $109.20/MWh. –Linda Dailey Paulson.

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

The Western Price Survey is excerpted from 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 Mavis Scanlon, editor with questions regarding Price Survey content.

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