Natural gas prices at three California hubs moved above the $3 per MMBtu mark as withdrawals were made from regional storage facilities.
A total of 0.91 Bcf of natural gas was withdrawn from regional storage between Aug. 24 and Aug. 28. This included 0.115 Bcf that Southern California Gas Co. withdrew from Aliso Canyon Aug. 28 as protocol conditions for withdrawal were met.
The utility reported via its ENVOY system that it started making withdrawals at approximately 7:40 a.m. Pacific Time Aug. 28 and stopped at roughly 7:11 p.m.
Prices at PG&E CityGate, SoCal CityGate and SoCal Border climbed above $3 Aug. 27 and Aug. 28, dropping value as the Aug. 22 to Aug. 29 trading week closed. SoCal CityGate natural gas, for example, jumped to $3.56/MMBtu. By Aug. 29, SoCal Border gas values had increased the most, jumping 42 cents to $2.47/MMBtu.
Western natural gas prices gained between 10 cents and as much as 42 cents in trading. Alberta proved the exception, shedding 10 cents to end up at 37 cents/MMBtu.
Western power values also experienced increases over the trading period. Palo Verde peak power was up 27 percent or $9.65 to $45.30/MWh, while other hubs added a few dollars. By Aug. 29, daytime Western power prices ranged from $30.95/MWh at Mid-Columbia to $45.30/MWh at Palo Verde.
Similarly, off-peak power added between $2.50 and $5.05. South of Path 15 gained the most, up $5.05 or 20 percent to $30.35/MWh. Prices ranged from $22.35/MWh at Mid-C to $30.35/MWh at SP15.
California ISO demand peaked at 43,532 MW Aug. 26. Total renewables on the CAISO grid reached 15,324 MW Aug. 29, meeting roughly 37 percent of demand. Thermal generation reached 21,072 MW Aug. 27, fulfilling 49 percent of demand.
Working natural gas in storage was 2,857 Bcf as of Aug. 23, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This was a net increase of 60 Bcf compared with the previous week.
Total national natural gas use eroded by 4 percent week over week, according to the agency. The amount of natural gas used for power generation fell by 9 percent week over week.
Traders should begin looking more intently at storage figures as the natural gas shoulder season approaches.
EIA analysts say the average rate of net additions into gas storage is 30 percent greater than the five-year average for the April through October refill season.
Should the rate of injections match the five-year average of 10.7 Bcfd for the remainder of the refill season, the agency said there would be 3,592 Bcf of natural gas in storage by Oct. 31, which would be 100 Bcf less than the five-year average of 3,692 Bcf for that time of year.