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Natural Gas

Should I Store or Should I Burn—Will Power Burn Jeopardize Gas Injection Season?

Several key factors point to a gradual increase in natural gas power burn over the next few years. More gas-fired units are coming online, and more coal-units are being retired.   But with gas prices trending higher this spring and summer than in the same periods last year, 2014 gas use by the electric sector may end up unchanged from 2013--unless this summer is a scorcher. The stronger pricing is good news for producers, of course, as is the very real need to replenish depleted gas stocks. Today, in the first episode of a new series on power burn demand for natural gas, we look back at 2013 and forward to prospects for 2014

Who Stopped the Rain?— Drought Boosting Gas Power Burn Demand in California

Despite some recent rain and snow, California continues to experience a historic drought that will further reduce the state’s hydroelectric output and again increase demand for natural gas for power generation. But the drought is only part of the story. California needs to replace the megawatts once provided by the now-shuttered San Onofre nuclear station, and specifically needs flexible gas-fired capacity to back up the intermittent production from the state’s new solar facilities and wind farms. The resulting gas shortages have led to generators being exposed to massive swings in gas prices this winter and facing higher prices this summer. Today we examine the growing connection between gas use and rain, snow, sun and wind in the Golden State.

Who Stopped the Rain—Natural Gas Gaining Market Share in Hydro-rich Northwest

Blessed with vast amounts of hydroelectric capacity, the Pacific Northwest has traditionally only turned to natural gas as a supplemental source of power. Sure, gas use for power generation ramps up during drier months of the year, and rises significantly in “dry” years like 2010 when lower-than-normal wintertime precipitation reduced river flows and hydro plant output in late spring and early summer. This year is shaping up as another dry one, but other factors are boosting gas demand in the region. New gas-fired plants are being built to replace retiring coal units and to keep pace with load growth and the prospect of relatively low-cost gas for the foreseeable future is encouraging gas-based industrial growth in the region. Today we look at what’s driving gas demand in the Pacific Northwest and how the region’s pipeline infrastructure is being expanded.

You Say You Want a Revolution - Shale Gas Implications for US Manufacturing Part 2

Low natural gas prices are expected to fuel a revolution in US manufacturing industry over the coming years. This new industrial revolution affects not only gas and power intensive industries but downstream products produced from petrochemicals. Manufacturing industries that left the US decades ago are returning to take advantage of lower costs.  Today Taylor Robinson from PLG Consulting details three phases to this industrial renaissance.

Who Stopped the Rain? - Less Hydro Means More Gas Use

Natural gas-fired power generation has always played second fiddle to hydropower in the Pacific Northwest, where dams in the Columbia River Basin typically supply well over half the region’s annual power needs. Gas takes on a more significant role, however, in years like this with lower-than-normal precipitation and hydro generation. And the ongoing phase-out of coal-fired plants in the Pacific Northwest is nudging gas closer to center stage—not just in 2014 but also over the long haul. Today we start a series examining the brightening outlook for gas use in the most hydro-dominant region in the US.

It’s Sure Been A Cold, Cold Winter – Natural Gas Storage Fears Spike Up Prices

Two short years ago at the end of March 2012 natural gas marketers despaired of ever finding a home for surging natural gas production after a historically mild winter left underground gas storage bursting at the seams. A week later in April 2012 natural gas CME NYMEX Henry Hub prices dipped below $2/MMBtu and producers started shifting their drilling rigs to wet gas and liquids plays in search of higher returns. Fast-forward to today and we move towards the end of another record winter – this time a freezing cold one. Last week gas prices climbed over $6/MMBtu and the gas storage gauge will likely be close to empty (metaphorically speaking) by the end of March. Today we provide an update on this winter’s gas market.

Down to Kokomo—Exporting Compressed Natural Gas to the Caribbean

“Aruba, Jamaica, ooo I wanna take ya. Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama …” While most of us trapped in the icy grip of this winter’s Polar Vortex can only dream of cruising from Florida to the Caribbean, “tropical drink melting in your hand,” Nova Scotia-based Emera Inc. has a plan to do just that (minus the drink), and on a regular, ferry-like schedule. Emera wants to export compressed natural gas from the Port of Palm Beach to its Grand Bahama electric utility and other Caribbean buyers starting as soon as 2015. The volumes of natural gas involved aren’t huge, but the plan is an example of market innovation driven by the US shale revolution. Today we examine Emera’s plan to move US gas to “the islands.”

Polar Vortex Spurs Catch-22 Workaround - Getting New England Gas Pipeline Capacity Built

This year’s polar vortex winter has once again demonstrated how New England power generators suffer from the region’s shortage of natural gas pipeline capacity during peak demand periods. The Catch-22 to-date has been that new pipelines won’t get built without firm, long-term commitments for pipeline capacity, which the New England power market doesn’t compensate generators for. Faced with rising demand and few alternatives to gas fired generation, the six state governments in the region are now proposing a novel fix: an electric-rate surcharge that would help guarantee pipeline developers the steady revenue they need to justify new projects.  Today we examine the states’ plan and its prospects.

Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue: How the US Shale Gas Boom Benefits Asian LNG Importers

Using the US natural gas production boom to promote the idea of a sustainable “global gas glut”, Asian importers have successfully managed to chip away at the longstanding oil-indexed pricing mechanism for liquefied natural gas (LNG) overthe past two years. While oil-indexation in LNG contracts will certainly not disappear overnight, the shale revolution has provided gas importers with significant negotiating leverage and a new degree of pricing flexibility. Today we examine the trend toward more US centric LNG pricing.

Miami 2017—Marcellus Natural Gas Heading to Florida, Part 2

The idea of using natural gas produced in Pennsylvania to generate power in South Florida would have been considered implausible or even unthinkable just a few years ago. But now it seems likely that by mid-2017 Marcellus-sourced gas will, in fact, be moving deep into the Southeast. Williams’ planned Atlantic Sunrise project will make its Transco mainline bi-directional as far south as Station 85 in southwestern Alabama. From there, Spectra Energy and NextEra Energy’s Sabal Trail pipeline will move Marcellus and other gas into central Florida, and NextEra’s Florida Southeast Connection line will take gas still further south. Today In the second of a two part series, we conclude our analysis of the transformational Atlantic Sunrise project.

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