Stalled Mid-Atlantic cold front, increased demand raise prices. Natural gas prices posted small gains through the week, generally 10¢ or less, in most markets. The Henry Hub spot price rose from $2.60/MMBtu last Wednesday to $2.67/MMBtu yesterday. Temperatures at or near seasonal norms kept prices stable for most of the United States, though the Midwest and Northeast saw temperatures below average because of a cold front stalled off the Mid-Atlantic.
Cooler weather and pipeline constraints support higher prices in New England. The Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline in New England posted a notice reflecting larger-than-normal constraints on Tuesday at its Cromwell Compressor Station near Hartford, Connecticut, a key throughput point on the Algonquin system. The notice restricted 100% of interruptible and 100% of secondary out-of-path nominations sourced from points west of Cromwell for delivery east of Cromwell. With cooler weather, pricing at New England trading locations increased on Tuesday. Prices at Algonquin Citygate, serving Boston consumers, doubled from $3.00/MMBtu last Wednesday to $6.61/MMBtu by Tuesday, April 7. With incoming warmer weather coupled with reduced pipeline constraints, prices at Algonquin dropped to $3.58/MMBtu yesterday. Similarly, at the Tennessee Zone 6 200 line, serving Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, prices reached $6.29/MMBtu on Tuesday before falling back to $3.56/MMBtu yesterday, though still 60¢ higher than last Wednesday.
Prices in New York were also affected by mixed temperatures, but to a more moderate degree. At Transcontinental Pipeline Zone 6, the trading point for New York City, prices began the week at $2.36/MMBtu, dropped to $2.01/MMBtu coming out of the holiday weekend, and climbed to $2.79/MMBtu on Tuesday, to settle at $2.73/MMBtu yesterday.
Marcellus area prices are mixed, remain low. Trading throughout the Marcellus area fluctuated slightly, but ended the report week near or below the starting points. Prices at Tennessee's Zone 4 Marcellus location and Transcontinental's Leidy Line both fell this week, with Zone 4 down 10¢ to $1.51/MMBtu and Leidy Line down 5¢ to $1.67/MMBtu yesterday. At Dominion South trading point, which serves customers in portions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia, prices increased by 3¢ from $1.70/MMBtu last Wednesday to $1.73/MMBtu yesterday.
Nymex prices mixed. The Nymex May futures contract opened the report week at $2.605/MMBtu last Wednesday and settled yesterday up slightly at $2.619/MMBtu. The 12-month strip (the average over the 12 contracts between May 2015 and April 2016) began the week at $2.883/MMBtu last Wednesday and rose to $2.895/MMBtu yesterday.
Supply declines week-over-week, dry gas production slows slightly in all regions. Total natural gas supply declined 0.6% from last week, but was still up 8.7% over the same week last year. After reaching a year-to-date record last week on March 30 of more than 73.3 Bcf/d, dry gas production fell to average 72.6 Bcf/d during the report week, according to Bentek data. Production exceeded consumption during the report week by more than 10 Bcf/d. Imports from Canada decreased by 1.3% week-over-week, but were 18% more than the same period of 2014. Regional imports, however, were mixed, with imports into the West and Midwest increasing by 2.7% and 23%, respectively, while imports into the Northeast dropped by 63.1%. LNG sendout was up, but remains at minimal levels.
Consumption declines in all sectors. For the second time this year weekly average consumption fell below 70 Bcf/d, averaging 69.7 Bcf/d for the report week, more than 3 Bcf/d (10.5%) less than last week and down over the same week last year by 1.3%. Consumption declined in all sectors. Residential and commercial consumption led the sectors with a drop of 23.3% over last week, and an 11.9% decline compared with a year ago.
Consumption of gas for electric power generation (power burn) fell 1.8%, led by declines in the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast. Notable, however, was an increase in power burn of 121% week-over-week in the Pacific Northwest, one of the smaller power burn sectors, with consumption doubling in the second half of the report week during a cold spell. Industrial consumption also declined this week by 2.5%.
Potential Gas Committee reports 6% increase in resources. On April 8, the Potential Gas Committee (PGC), a natural gas industry nonprofit led by the Colorado School of Mines, released the results of its latest biennial assessment of U.S. natural gas resources. PGC estimates that as of December 31, 2014, the United States held 2,515 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of technically recoverable resources. According to the press release of the report, this is the highest resource evaluation in the committee's 50-year history, exceeding the previous high assessment (from 2012) by 131 Tcf.