Spot prices mixed for the report period. The Henry Hub spot price increased slightly, rising by 11¢ from $2.06/MMBtu last Wednesday to $2.17/MMBtu yesterday. Prices at the Chicago Citygate began the report week at $2.06/MMBtu and closed the week up 14¢, at $2.20/MMBtu. The PG&E Citygate price, serving customers in northern California, stayed flat at $2.64/MMBtu this week.
With the exception of the Southeast, most of the country experienced much colder weather this report week compared to last week. Some states in the Rockies had temperatures that averaged 10 degrees colder or more than last week. The Southeast and some of the Gulf states, by contrast, enjoyed average temperatures in the 60s and even 70s for the week. Because nearly two-thirds of homes in the South use electric home-heating, this reduced overall demand for power burn.
Despite the cold weather in the Rockies, natural gas price movements in the region were mixed. Opal in southwest Wyoming increased by 4¢ over the report period, settling at $2.21/MMBtu yesterday. Northwest Sumas fell by 20¢, closing at $2.19/MMBtu yesterday, but it had increased by 15¢ the previous week. Sumas is an import point in northwest Washington, and the price was elevated at the beginning of the report week, possibly because of the major storm that affected the area a few days prior. The storm brought strong winds and heavy rain on Tuesday and Wednesday (11/17 and 11/18) and cut power to nearly 700,000 customers.
Prices up in some Northeast points. New England prices increased from the previous week as temperatures continued to fall in the region. Algonquin Citygate, which serves Boston-area consumers, opened at $2.62/MMBtu last Wednesday and closed at $3.06/MMBtu yesterday. Transco Zone 6 NY, serving New York City, rose from $1.74/MMBtu last Wednesday to $2.18 yesterday. By contrast, at Tennessee Zone 6 200L, serving lower New England, prices fell by 4¢ over the report week, closing at $2.92/MMBtu.
Marcellus prices rise. Marcellus prices increased over the report week and are back above the $1.00/MMBtu mark. At Tennessee's Zone 4 Marcellus trading point, prices began at $0.93/MMBtu last Wednesday and increased to $1.26 yesterday. Similarly, on Transco's Leidy Line, prices increased from $1.18/MMBtu to $1.26/MMBtu Wednesday-to-Wednesday.
Nymex prices fall. At the Nymex, the January contract began the week at $2.299/MMBtu and ended the report week down over 13¢, closing at $2.165/MMBtu yesterday. The 12-month strip, which averages the January 2015 through December 2016 Nymex prices, closed at $2.404/MMBtu yesterday, 8¢ lower than a week ago. This week last year, the 12-month strip averaged $3.829/MMBtu. This year's lower strip reflects record-high storage inventories and expectations of mild winter weather.
Supply declines slightly. Dry natural gas production declined by 0.3% this week, averaging 71.5 billion cubic feet per day, according to Bentek Energy data. Imports of natural gas from Canada declined by 3.7%, led by declines in imports into the Northeast. LNG sendout remained at minimal levels. Overall supply averaged 76.7 Bcf/d for the week, which is 0.6% lower than last week and 0.2% higher than this week last year.
Consumption decreases slightly. U.S. consumption of natural gas decreased by 1.8% compared to the previous report week, led by a substantial decrease in power sector consumption. Consumption of natural gas in power generation declined by 6.7%, driven largely by a 19.7% decrease in consumption in the Southeast, which was the only part of the country to experience warmer weather compared to last week. The Southeast relies on electricity more heavily than other parts of the country for home heating, and it is by far the largest natural gas-consuming region for power burn. Residential/commercial consumption increased by 1.4% week over week, while industrial consumption decreased by 0.8%. Exports to Mexico were up slightly, increasing 0.9% relative to last week, and 41.1% relative to this week last year.