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Western Price Survey

November 25, 2015
Natural Gas Supplies Still Stuffed

Cold weather typically triggers withdrawals from natural gas storage starting in November, but strong production moved storage to yet another new record this week.

Working natural gas in storage reached 4,009 Bcf as of Nov. 20, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates. This is a net increase of 9 Bcf compared to the previous week, and was aligned with market expectations.

Storage levels are now 16 percent greater than a year ago and 6.7 percent greater than the five-year average. There was no net change in natural gas storage levels reported by the Pacific region during the report week.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, the EIA issued no analysis for the report week. The next Natural Gas Weekly Update is scheduled for Dec. 3.

Henry Hub gas spot values gained 7 cents in Tuesday-to-Tuesday trading, ending at $2.12/MMBtu on Nov. 24. Western hubs' average values generally moved higher, adding between 9 and 32 cents in trading. Sumas natural gas posted the greatest gain, up 32 cents to $2.38/MMBtu.

Alberta and PG&E CityGate natural gas were the exceptions to this trend. Alberta shed 5 cents in trading, ending at $1.79/MMBtu. PG&E CityGate dropped 16 cents to $2.64/MMBtu by Tuesday.

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Western peak power prices generally gained between 15 cents and $2.90 in the abbreviated Nov. 20 to Nov. 25 trading period. Mid-Columbia posted the greatest gains, up $2.90 to $24.80/MWh Wednesday. South of Path 15 proved the exception, down $2.95 to $28.05/MWh. Prices at the end of trading ranged from $21.35/MWh at Palo Verde to $28.05/MWh at South of Path 15.

Nighttime power prices fared similarly, with values up between $1.10 and $3.05 on average. Neither North nor South of Path 15 posted trades between Monday and Wednesday. Prices ranged from $21.30/MWh at Palo Verde to $25.70/MWh at the California-Oregon Border.

Demand peaked on the Cal-ISO grid at 29,214 MW Nov. 23; however, the week's high demand was expected Wednesday, when use was forecast to reach 29,412 MW.

Total renewables production on the Cal-ISO grid reached 8,137 MW Nov. 24. Total solar production reached 5,349 MW Nov. 20, while thermal generation peaked at 13,914 MW on Nov. 23.

What's ahead: A forecast from WSI calls for a warmer-than-normal December in the Northwest but a colder-than-normal December in the Southwest [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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