It’s said that everything is bigger and better in Texas, and when it comes to the magnitude of negative natural gas prices, the Lone Star State recently captured the crown by a wide margin. By now, you’ve probably heard that Permian spot gas prices plumbed new depths in the past couple of weeks, falling as low as $9/MMBtu below zero in intraday trading and easily setting the record for the “biggest” negative absolute price ever recorded in U.S. gas markets. Certainly, that was bad news for many of the Permian producers selling gas into the day-ahead market. But every market has its losers and winners, and negative prices were likely “better” — dare we say much better — for those buying gas in the Permian. Today, we look at some of the players that are benefitting from negative Permian natural gas prices.
Early in 2012, soon after Japan’s Fukushima disaster, two California nuclear power plants called SONGS 2 and SONGS 3 (stands for San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station) shut down for the foreseeable future. This pulled roughly 2,200 MW of base load generation out of the Southern California supply stack. The California System Operator (CAISO) scrambled for several weeks to bring replacement power into the system, and succeeded admirably. The grid held together and weathered last year’s hot summer. Now as the summer of 2013 starts to come into focus, there are lots of questions about the SONGS units –which are still off line – and what California’s overall power generation load will mean for natural gas demand and prices. Today we survey the measures that made things work last year and examine the most likely market developments expected for Summer 2013.
On January 1st, 2013, California’s cap-and-trade program for Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) went live and West Coast energy markets entered a whole new world. Wholesale electricity prices in California increased 20% as a result and other energy markets have felt the impact. For example, the new rules pushed up the average cost of refining oil by $0.78/bbl. For companies subject to the regulations, the bottom line is that if you generate GHG, you pay. But exactly who pays, how much you pay, and when you pay are all subject to a dizzying array of rules and regulations. Today we’ll navigate the turbulent and uncharted seas of California cap-and-trade markets.
Today the Energy Information Administration (EIA) publishes weekly US natural gas storage numbers for the week ending July 6, 2012. Last week EIA reported 39 Bcf injections making the total storage 3,102 Bcf. The natural gas stockpile is now 602 Bcf higher than this time last year but the rate of storage injection has slowed as a result of increased demand for natural gas burn by power generators. In today’s blog we look at the supply demand picture to see what is driving higher natural gas burn by power generators and the implications for storage.
On this President’s Day holiday I have included links to five articles from the last 72 hours, all of which are timely and relevant to today’s energy markets. They range from a sobering assessment of coal oversupply by Bloomberg, a recap of Mitsubishi’s acquisition of Encana’s shale assets, the impact of the drilling slowdown in Luzerne County, PA (in the dry gas region of Pennsylvania), and just for fun, a recap of Range Resources latest victory in its suit-counter-suit over the burning wat