Posts from Albert Marc Passy

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently changed the weather forecast methodology for one of its most important energy models — the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) — and while we talk about the effects of weather on energy markets fairly often (571 times in the past 12 years, or about once a week, but who’s counting?), we rarely take a step back and explain how those weather forecasts are used. In today’s RBN blog, we look at different approaches to weather forecasting, the recent change made by the EIA, and how the new approach might affect our understanding of EIA forecasts.

Natural gas prices remain at near-record lows, but with so much production being driven by still-favorable crude oil economics there’s a distinct possibility — especially given the warm winter we’re in — that gas inventories may test storage capacity this year, perhaps as early as Labor Day. Of course, there are many market factors that might prevent this outcome, including lower production, a scorching-hot summer, and gas-to-coal fuel switching. But it could happen. And whenever we approach the limitations of natural gas infrastructure, we’ve seen time and again the disruptions and dislocations the market must deal with. The most obvious market signals are prices. But when it comes to gas flows another important barometer is the use of operational flow orders (OFOs). In today’s blog, we update one of RBN’s Greatest Hits and take a deep dive into the world of OFOs and what they can reveal about the state of the gas market.