A shot of cold weather across the West during the trading week resulted in mixed regional energy prices. Enerfax noted that colder weather will only become a factor influencing national prices if it continues moving east.
El Paso-Permian Basin natural gas posted the greatest increase among Western hubs in Jan. 30 to Feb. 6 trading, adding 25 cents to reach 51 cents/MMBtu. SoCal CityGate natural gas shed 40 cents to land at $2.81/MMBtu—the highest regional price—by Feb. 6.
Henry Hub natural gas values fell 4 cents to $1.87/MMBtu in trading.
"Warm January weather, leading to reduced withdrawals from underground storage, combined with low nuclear outages and record natural gas production have depressed natural gas prices in future and spot markets," the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.
January 2020 had the third-highest monthly dry natural gas production on record with an average of 95 Bcf per day. Production is on pace to be 7 Bcfd greater than last winter, which set a production record.
National working natural gas in storage was 2,609 Bcf as of Jan. 31, according to the EIA. This is a net decrease of 137 Bcf compared with the previous week.
A total of 1.355 Bcf of natural gas was withdrawn from Aliso Canyon on the gas days between Feb. 3 and Feb. 5, with withdrawals continuing into Feb. 6, according to ENVOY reports. A "gas day" spans 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Western power price values varied by the end of trading. Palo Verde peak power gained $6 to $18.50/MWh, while North of Path 15 shed the most, down $2.45 to $27.45/MWh. By the end of trading, prices ranged from $14.50 at Mid-Columbia to $27.45/MWh at both North and South of Path 15.
Palo Verde off-peak power perked up $7.05 to $21.50/MWh and Mid-C off-peak power tumbled $7.10 to $8.85/MWh by Feb. 6. Nighttime power prices ranged from $8.85/MWh at Mid-C to $30.90/MWh at SP15 by the end of trading.
The real-time locational marginal price at the Southern California Edison default load-aggregation point reached $1,291/MWh around 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 5 and $1,279/MWh at the San Diego Gas & Electric aggregation point. Weather data showed a temperature drop at that time.
California Independent System Operator demand reached 29,456 MW Feb. 4, which should be the week's high.
In January, the average high peak price at Henry Hub was $2.15/MMBtu, $1.46 less than in 2019.
Western natural gas hub prices dropped between $1.24 and as much as $1.68 compared with the year prior. Malin natural gas lost the most value year over year, falling from $4.44/MMBtu to $2.76/MMBtu.
Likewise, average Western power prices fell year over year. Palo Verde fell the most, down $13 to $22.75/MWh.