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Western Price Survey

November 13, 2015
Natural Gas Prices Dip as Storage Record Set

Forecasts for colder weather failed to lift natural gas prices as gas storage hit a new record.

Working natural gas in storage reached 3,978 Bcf as of Nov. 6, according to Energy Information Administration estimates, a net increase of 49 Bcf from the previous week.

This surpasses the all-time record high of 3,929 Bcf, which was recorded by the EIA for the weeks ending Oct. 30, 2015, and Nov. 2, 2012.

Storage levels are now 10.3 percent greater than a year ago and 4.5 percent greater than the five-year average. The West recorded a net addition of 3 Bcf of natural gas to storage, which is 11 Bcf greater than the five-year average.

Henry Hub gas spot values dipped 9 cents in Thursday-to-Thursday trading, ending at $2.01/MMBtu on Nov. 12. Western hubs' average values dropped between 2 and 16 cents in trading. Opal/Kern natural gas posted the greatest loss, down 16 cents to $2.02/MMBtu. Several Western hubs fell below the $2 mark, including El Paso-Permian, which traded Friday at $1.90/MMBtu.

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Natural gas prices also stalled based on delays in the EIA storage-report release, noted Enerfax. Due to the Nov. 11 Veterans Day holiday, the report was not released until Nov. 13. The agency's Natural Gas Weekly Update had not been released by press time.

The EIA is moving to a five-region format for reporting natural gas storage: Pacific, Mountain, South Central, Midwest and East regions. The first full report in the new format is scheduled for a Nov. 19 release.

Meanwhile, Western peak power prices shed between 85 cents and $2.20 on average in the Nov. 6 to Nov. 13 trading period. Palo Verde posted the greatest drop, down $2.20 to $22.65/MWh. Prices at the end of trading ranged from $20/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $30.80 at South of Path 15.

Nighttime power prices fared similarly, with values down between $1.85 and $2.75 on average by Friday. Prices ranged from $17.25/MWh at Mid-C to $27.75/MWh at South of Path 15.

Demand peaked on the Cal-ISO grid at 29,447 MW Nov. 9, which should be the week's high. Total renewables production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 8,976 MW on Nov. 10.

Northwest Power Pool demand was 54,911 MW Nov. 12, which should prove 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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