Western Price Survey
Cold Northwest temperatures and a chance of rain and snow sent the cost of natural gas and off-peak electricity upward in Wednesday trading.
As a cold, wet front moved across Oregon and Northern California Wednesday, natural gas was priced relatively high in more northerly hubs compared to Southern California. Values for off-peak power in the Northwest also shot up on Wednesday, approaching the values for peak power.
Peak power in the Mid-Columbia region started the week between 57 mills/kWh and 60 mills, dropped a bit in Tuesday trading, and finished at a high of 61 mills/kWh in Wednesday trading. Off-peak power, however, which had been trading between 46 mills and 50 mills/kWh Monday and Tuesday, climbed all the way to 57.50 mills/kWh in Wednesday trading. Power was traded Wednesday for deliveries next Sunday and Monday.
California-Oregon border daytime power traded at around 62 mills/kWh Monday, dropped to 55 mills the next day, and wound up near where it started the week on Wednesday. Off-peak power, which traded at about 50 mills/kWh Monday, shot up to 57.75 mills/kWh for deliveries next Sunday and Monday.
Values for peak power in the South of Path 15 region were at a high of 67 mills/kWh Monday, lost a few mills in trading Tuesday, and would up at about 60 mills/kWh Wednesday. Off-peak power started Monday at around 46 mills/kWh and rose to 48.75 mills/kWh for weekend and next-Monday deliveries.
Power prices north of Path 15 followed roughly the same trajectory. Peak power was at 67.25 mills/kWh Monday and about 60 mills/kWh Wednesday. Off-peak power gained two or three mills in Wednesday trading after starting the week at around 46 mills/kWh.
Peak power at Palo Verde was priced between 53 mills and 56 mills/kWh Monday, and dropped all the way to 42 mills/kWh in Tuesday trading before climbing to 50 mills/kWh the next day. Off-peak power, which started the week at 36 mills/kWh, reached a high of 42.75 mills/kWh on Wednesday [Chris Raphael].
Gas Prices Plummet on Mild Weather, Adequate Storage
Most areas of California probably will not be eating turkey by the gas furnace this week, as temperatures were expected to remain in the 50s and 60s along the coast and in central California for the next few days. The one exception is the temperature-volatile eastern desert areas of the state: although highs in Baker near Death Valley, for instance, are expected to reach the 70s, lows are promising to touch the freezing point during the night this weekend.
For the week ending Nov. 17, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that 3 Bcf moved out of storage in the West, but 2 Bcf actually went into storage in the East, which has been experiencing higher-than-normal temperatures. Stocks are still 7.5 Bcf above the five-year average for the total Lower 48 states, and Western storage is 13 Bcf above the five-year average, the EIA reported.
The weather forecast and storage report sent natural gas prices tumbling for many Western areas in Wednesday trading. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, deliveries were for Thursday through Monday.
Southern California border gas, which traded at a high of $6.92/MMBtu on Monday, fell to a low of $4.50/MMBtu in Wednesday trading.
Permian Basin natural gas, which had been priced at $6.74/MMBtu for Tuesday deliveries, slid all the way down to $4.50/MMBtu by Wednesday.
The cheapest gas was to be found in the San Juan Basin, where prices dropped to $4/MMBtu in Wednesday trading.
Prices in Malin, Ore., however, rose slightly. Natural gas was valued at a low of $7/MMBtu in Tuesday trading before climbing to $7.25/MMBtu the next day. Temperatures in Malin are expected to be well below freezing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
A year ago, U.S. natural gas stocks were 32 Bcf below the previous year's stocks, a snowstorm raced across the Midwest, and natural gas prices flirted with $10/MMBtu [C. R.].
The Western Price Survey will be published only once this week because of the Thanksgiving Day holiday. There will be no report on Friday, November 24.
Archives of the Western Price Survey for the past year are also available online.
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