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Western Price Survey

November 7, 2014
Natural Gas Addition Reaches Record

Record-high natural gas production plus mild summer and early fall weather resulted in a record 2,749 Bcf addition to natural gas storage so far this year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Last year, that amount was 2,109 Bcf for the same period.

"At the start of the natural gas injection season, which is traditionally defined as April 1 through October 31, storage inventories totaled 826 Bcf. This was the lowest that natural gas storage had been since April 2003," noted the agency.

Working gas in storage reached 3,571 Bcf as of Oct. 31, according to EIA estimates, a net increase of 91 Bcf from the previous week. Storage levels are now 6.2 percent less than a year ago and 6.8 percent less than the five-year average.

Storage additions should continue into November, for at least two more weeks.

Natural gas values generally increased in trading, with Henry Hub gas spot values adding 17 cents since last Thursday to trade Nov. 6 at $3.91/MMBtu. Western natural gas prices were mixed in Thursday-to-Thursday trading. PG&E CityGate gained 27 cents to $4.51, while Sumas lost 6 cents to $3.53. Opal/Kern remained even at $3.72.

Western peak power prices saw similarly mixed results in Friday-to-Friday trading. Mid-Columbia peak power lost 60 cents on average, ending at $30.40/MWh, while California-Oregon Border prices jumped $6.85 to $42.60. By Nov. 7, prices ranged from $30.40/MWh at Mid-C to $50.20/MWh at South of Path 15.

Off-peak prices rose between 55 cents and $4.20, led by California-Oregon Border, up $4.20 to $33.60/MWh. Average off-peak prices Friday ranged from $26.30/MWh at Mid-C to $40.05/MWh at SP15.

Peak demand on the Cal-ISO grid reached 30,887 MW Nov. 6; however, demand was projected to reach 30,961 MW on Nov. 7, which would be the week's high.

Natural gas prices as a whole were higher in October compared with October 2013. Hubs, however, remain well below the five-year average. For power, average prices at California hubs during October were greater than last year, when high average prices neared $46/MWh. Pacific Northwest power prices, by contrast, posted greater average high prices in 2013, also around $46/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 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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