This past week, natural gas had been starting to trend upward, and in several cases increased on average of about .05 cents per day. However this trend didn’t last very long with prices rising too but not going above $4.20/MMBtu for the week. The low price for the previous week was $4.06/MMBtu, which occurred on Friday, May 17th during a down day at the market. Prices for NG for the week ended up trading at around $4.18/MMbtu, staying much closer to the high for the week. Storage has once again experienced an injection, with an increase from 1964 Bcf to 2053 Bcf. Despite this 4.5% increase or 89 Bcf injection, storage is still well below the 2733 Bcf we had the previous year. The East experienced the largest increase, seeing storage rise from 811 to 857 in the area. Even with this injection, storage was below it’s 5 year average by 84 Bcf. However, storage is still within it’s minimum and maximum for the 5 year period.
After experiencing random and inconsistent price drops last week in the price of crude oil, prices seemed to become more stable. Last week the price per barrel ranged around $96. This week prices seemed to have taken a less dramatic drop, but still fell to around $93 dollars a barrel. After showing some potential of rebounding, prices this week ranged from a high of $96.71/barrel to the weekly low of $92.45. According to an article in The St. Louis Post, dipping oil prices could be credited to a stronger U.S. dollar, which has picked up due to the economy picking back up.
Commercial Electricity Rates by Market (May 23)
ERCOT: Rates in the state of Texas were shown to be between .025 – .044 cents. The previous prices for the ERCOT ranged between .03 -.045 cents. This decrease can be attributed to a decrease in the NG market. The ERCOT continued to show the widest range of prices.
NYISO: Rates in the New York market were between .029 – .047.
MISO: Rates for the Mid-West have ranged from .024 – .026
PJM: The greater Pennsylvania area showed prices ranging between .040 – .052
Weather for the upcoming week appears to have added heats waves throughout a majority of the continental U.S.. The Southern part of the country will be experiencing anywhere from a 2 to 6 degree increase. The Midwest could experience the most diverse change of temperatures, ranging from 2 – 4 degrees cooler, and than experiencing a drastic swing with temperatures increasing from 4 – 8 degrees later in the week. The Northeast should remain relatively stable, with an average increase of 2 degrees. The West coast will remain relatively cool, with temperatures expected to be cooler throughout the week. If these temperature increases stay consistent, it would continue to help the bullish looking market as prices could begin to climb before the start of June.
News In the Market
With the recent natural disasters affecting the Oklahoma area, many people, myself included, we’re curious how gas prices would be affected considering how many refinery plants there are in the greater OKC area. As reported on Bloomberg, “[tornado] may not have affected refinery operations in the area.” Although Oklahoma is more well-known for being home to stockpiles of crude oil, it also houses several large NG refineries. Had several of the refineries been damaged due to the EF-5 tornado, the amount of available NG could have been greatly affected, potentially driving the price of the June’s NG future price upward. After further investigation it appears that the refineries were out of harms way and have continued refining it’s share of NG.
Traditionally, besides Memorial Day Weekend being a time relaxation, family travels and outdoor activities, this is also the time of year that signals increasing cost in NG and electricity across the nation. This time of year normally begins the hot, humid summer everyone loathes. However last year we had a rare reprieve in cost of electricity. Rates around this time last year were much cheaper by comparison to this year at the same time. Although prices have steadily continued to climb, the market is still very unpredictable. If this year has been any indication thus far, expect electricity rates to climb.