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Natural Gas Weekly Update

for week ending July 10, 2013  |  Release Date:  July 11, 2013  |  Next Release: July 18, 2013

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JUMP TO: In The News | Overview | Prices/Demand/Supply | Storage

In the News:

Northeast and Southeast spur growth in Lower 48 natural gas power burn

Increased consumption of natural gas for electric generation in the northeastern and southeastern United States drove national growth through the second quarter (April-June) of 2013, a trend that continues into July. During the second quarter, power plant gas consumption in the Lower 48 states averaged 21.4 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d), a 1.1 Bcf/d increase over the average for this period from 2008 to 2012, according to data from Bentek Energy Services. States in the Northeast and Southeast accounted for almost 98% of this increase, with the average second quarter levels in both of these regions rising by 0.5 Bcf/d over their respective 2008-12 averages.

These increases occurred despite slightly cooler temperatures in these two regions. While temperatures in the Northeast averaged 62.7 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.4% below the 2008-12 average, natural gas consumption for power generation averaged 4.6 Bcf/d, 12.9%, above the 2008-12 average. Similarly, in the Southeast, average April-June temperatures this year averaged 71.8 degrees, 3.0% below the 2008-12 average, while power generation averaged 6.9 Bcf/d, 8.3% above the 2008-12 average. Overall, the Henry Hub spot price has decreased significantly since 2008, contributing to an increase in the gas-fired share of total power generation.

Although electric generator natural gas consumption in the second quarter was above the average 2008-12 level, it was 18.5% lower than 2012's record natural gas power burn, which was high because of a particularly hot summer and low gas prices. Since 2012, coal has reclaimed some of its share of the electricity market as gas prices rose from last year's lows. This second-quarter trend has continued into July, with natural gas consumed for power generation averaging 27.6 Bcf/d since July 1, 4.3% higher than the 2008-12 average, but 21.7% lower than the same period last year.

Overview:

(For the Week Ending Wednesday, July 10, 2013)

  • Natural gas spot prices increased over the report week in most areas as warm weather led to increased cooling demand. The Henry Hub spot price rose from $3.54 per million British thermal unit (MMBtu) last Wednesday, July 3, to $3.69 yesterday.
  • At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) the front month (August 2013) contract fell a penny from $3.690 per MMBtu last Wednesday to $3.680 yesterday.
  • Working natural gas in storage increased to 2,687 Bcf as of Friday, July 5, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR). A net storage injection of 82 Bcf for the week resulted in storage levels 14.2% below year-ago levels, and 0.8% below the 5-year average.
  • Natural gas rotary rigs increased by 2 to 355 last week, according to data released by Baker Hughes Incorporated. The oil rig count increased by 5 to 1,395 active units.
  • The weekly average natural gas plant liquids composite price this week (covering July 1-5) increased by 3% to $8.92 per MMBtu from the previous week. Mont Belvieu spot prices for propane and natural gasoline both increased by 3%. Butane and isobutane prices increased by 6% and 5%, respectively. The ethane price was flat.

more summary data

Prices/Demand/Supply:

Natural gas spot prices generally rose over the week, partially reversing losses from the past two weeks. Henry Hub spot prices ended the reporting week at $3.69, up 15 cents from $3.54 on July 3. For the first few days of July, Henry Hub prices remained in the $3.50 per MMBtu range, at their lowest level since March. Big price increases occurred in the Northeast on Friday, July 5, likely on a weekend forecast of hot weather. The spot price at the Algonquin Citygate rose to $5.73 per MMBtu on Friday, July 5, up from $4.50 per MMBtu on July 3 (markets were closed on July 4). At Transcontinental Pipeline's Zone 6 trading point for delivery into New York City, prices rose moderately Friday, but continued to increase through most of the report week.

In the Marcellus shale, expected pipeline outages led to large price declines before the July 4 holiday. On July 3, prices dropped from $2.44 per MMBtu to $1.08 per MMBtu at Tennessee Pipeline's Zone 4 Marcellus trading point. Dominion Transmission had announced maintenance would begin Monday and limit flows on its pipeline, which interconnects with many other systems in the region. The maintenance would likely result in stranded gas. On Friday, however, Dominion announced that it would postpone the maintenance to July 15, and as a result, prices in the area increased. Prices at Tennessee's Zone 4 point had risen back into the $2 range by Monday.

At the Nymex, the price of the August 2013 contract posted a slight decline. Prices fell from $3.690 per MMBtu last Wednesday to $3.680 yesterday. The August contract has gained 9.8 cents thus far in its tenure as the prompt-month contract; on June 27, its first day trading as prompt month, the contract settled at $3.582 per MMBtu. The 12-month strip posted almost zero net change during the report week, decreasing from $3.877 per MMBtu on July 3 to $3.874 yesterday.

Total consumption declined slightly during the report week, according to Bentek Energy Services estimates. Declines in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors were offset by a 0.2% increase in consumption of natural gas for electric power generation, which is the largest consuming sector at this time of year. Regionally, consumption of natural gas for power generation (or, power burn) was mixed. Power burn fell 7.4% in the Southeast, but rose 21.2% in the Northeast in response to hot weather in the middle of the week. These two regions are the largest users of natural gas for power generation. In Texas, the third major consuming region, power burn fell 3.1%. The large increases in the Northeast helped to offset declines in other regions for the overall increase in electric power consumption.

Supply increased slightly during the week. Total supply increased 0.9%, as domestic production, imports of natural gas from Canada, and the flow into U.S. pipelines of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) increased. LNG sendout rose from the previous week, with the Everett Terminal near Boston making up almost all of the sendout volumes. However, despite increases, total LNG sendout has been at near-minimal levels of less than 0.5 Bcf/d for most of 2013. Dry gas production rose 0.5% this week, and remains 2.1% above year-ago levels.

more price data

Storage

Working natural gas in storage increased to 2,687 Bcf as of Friday, July 5, according to EIA's WNGSR. The 82-Bcf gain in storage levels was higher than both the 5-year average and year-ago stock changes for the week, which had net injections of 74 Bcf and 34 Bcf, respectively. Despite the large build, current inventories remain 443 Bcf (14.2%) less than last year at this time and 22 Bcf (0.8%) below the 5-year average of 2,709 Bcf.

All three storage regions posted increases this week. Inventories in the East, West, and Producing regions increased by 53 Bcf (the 5-year average net injection is 50 Bcf), 2 Bcf (the 5-year average net injection is 11 Bcf), and 27 Bcf (the 5-year average net injection is 13 Bcf), respectively. In the Producing region, working natural gas inventories increased 9 Bcf (3.4%) in salt cavern facilities and increased 18 Bcf (2.5%) in nonsalt cavern facilities.

The net injection was in line with the market expectations, which, on average, were reported to be 81 Bcf. Natural gas prompt-month Nymex futures prices fell over $0.08 per MMBtu to just below $3.61 per MMBtu immediately following WNGSR's release. In the hour following the release, prices remained around this level.

Storage report week sees warmer than normal temperatures. Temperatures in the Lower 48 states were 1.7 degrees warmer than the 30-year normal temperature and 2.1 degrees cooler than the same period last year, and averaged 75.7 degrees for the week, compared to 77.9 degrees last year and the 30-year normal of 74.0 degrees.

more storage data

See also:



Natural gas spot prices
Spot Prices ($/MMBtu)
Thu,
4-Jul
Fri,
5-Jul
Mon,
8-Jul
Tue,
9-Jul
Wed,
10-Jul
Henry Hub
Holiday
3.52
3.65
3.69
3.69
New York
Holiday
3.81
4.20
4.58
4.05
Chicago
Holiday
3.55
3.79
3.77
3.78
Cal. Comp. Avg,*
Holiday
3.59
3.73
3.74
3.79
Futures ($/MMBtu)
August Contract
Holiday
3.617
3.741
3.657
3.680
September Contract
Holiday
3.618
3.740
3.658
3.682
*Avg. of NGI's reported prices for: Malin, PG&E citygate, and Southern California Border Avg.
Source: NGI's Daily Gas Price Index
Spot Prices ($/MMBtu)
Thu,
27-Jun
Fri,
28-Jun
Mon,
1-Jul
Tue,
2-Jul
Wed,
3-Jul
Henry Hub
3.73
3.57
3.52
3.58
3.54
New York
3.70
3.60
3.65
3.71
3.67
Chicago
3.73
3.58
3.59
3.62
3.52
Cal. Comp. Avg,*
3.72
3.60
3.74
3.72
3.65
Futures ($/MMBtu)
August Contract
3.582
3.565
3.577
3.654
3.690
September Contract
3.577
3.559
3.573
3.651
3.689
*Avg. of NGI's reported prices for: Malin, PG&E citygate, and Southern California Border Avg.
Source: NGI's Daily Gas Price Index
Natural gas futures prices
Natural gas liquids spot prices


U.S. Natural Gas Supply - Gas Week: (7/3/13 - 7/10/13)
Percent change for week compared with:
 
last year
last week
Gross Production
2.09%
0.51%
Dry Production
2.07%
0.51%
Canadian Imports
-16.78%
4.30%
      West (Net)
5.95%
3.41%
      MidWest (Net)
-23.19%
-11.01%
      Northeast (Net)
-59.41%
570.68%
LNG Imports
-27.05%
29.40%
Total Supply
0.14%
0.91%
Source: BENTEK Energy LLC
U.S. Consumption - Gas Week: (7/3/13 - 7/10/13)
Percent change for week compared with:
 
last year
last week
U.S. Consumption
-10.56%
-1.15%
Power
-19.00%
0.19%
Industrial
-0.16%
-0.70%
Residential/Commercial
0.60%
-5.21%
Total Demand
-10.17%
-1.22%
Source: BENTEK Energy LLC
Natural gas supply


Weekly natural gas rig count and average Henry Hub
Rigs
Fri, July 05, 2013
Change from
 
last week
last year
Oil Rigs
1,395
0.36%
-1.69%
Natural Gas Rigs
355
0.57%
-34.50%
Miscellaneous
7
40.00%
75.00%
Rig Numbers by Type
Fri, July 05, 2013
Change from
 
last week
last year
Vertical
434
-1.59%
-20.95%
Horizontal
1,068
0.09%
-9.03%
Directional
255
6.25%
5.37%
Source: Baker Hughes Inc.


Working Gas in Underground Storage
Stocks
billion cubic feet (bcf)
Region
7/5/13
6/28/13
change
East
1,244
1,191
53
West
445
443
2
Producing
998
971
27
Total
2,687
2,605
82
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Working Gas in Underground Storage
Historical Comparisons
Year ago
(7/5/12)
5-year average
(2008-2012)
Region
Stocks (Bcf)
% change
Stocks (Bcf)
% change
East
1,529
-18.6
1,333
-6.7
West
482
-7.7
411
8.3
Producing
1,119
-10.8
965
3.4
Total
3,130
-14.2
2,709
-0.8
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration


Temperature -- Heating & Cooling Degree Days (week ending Jul 04)
 
HDD deviation from:
 
CDD deviation from:
Region
HDD Current
normal
last year
CDD Current
normal
last year
New England
0
-3
0
65
35
15
Middle Atlantic
0
-1
-1
70
25
-7
E N Central
8
6
7
33
-15
-62
W N Central
4
0
4
44
-18
-68
South Atlantic
0
0
0
93
3
-17
E S Central
0
0
0
69
-17
-55
W S Central
0
0
0
109
-8
-28
Mountain
0
-10
0
111
41
15
Pacific
0
-7
-4
94
59
62
United States
2
-1
1
77
11
-14
Note: HDD = heating degree-day; CDD = cooling degree-day

Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Average temperature (°F)

7-Day Mean ending Jul 04, 2013

Mean Temperature (F) 7-Day Mean ending Jul 04, 2013

Source: NOAA/National Weather Service

Deviation between average and normal (°F)

7-Day Mean ending Jul 04, 2013

Mean Temperature Anomaly (F) 7-Day Mean ending Jul 04, 2013

Source: NOAA/National Weather Service