Southern California Daily Energy Report

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Southern California Edison

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San Diego Gas and Electric

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Imperial Irrigation District

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Southern California Gas (SoCalGas)

Daily natural gas receipts and sendout (billion cubic feet)

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Daily natural gas inventory (billion cubic feet)

Notes and sources
June 22, 2017

Temperature-driven increases in natural gas demand contribute to higher spot gas prices in Southern California

Daily spot natural gas price difference (SoCalGas Citygate minus Henry Hub)

Much hotter-than-normal temperatures in Southern California and the broader Southwest this week contributed to rising spot natural gas prices. Temperatures have exceeded normal ranges since June 14, and on June 21 temperatures were above 90 degrees in Burbank, California, topped 100 degrees in the inland valleys, and surpassed 120 degrees in the low desert.

As a result, estimated natural gas demand, or send-out, on the Southern California Gas (SoCalGas) pipeline exceeded 3 billion cubic feet per day from June 19 – June 22. SoCalGas delivered more natural gas, in part, to meet the electricity demands of higher air-conditioning loads.

Because of this higher demand, the price of natural gas at the SoCalGas Citygate—a natural gas trading point for the greater Los Angeles basin—rose to about $4.15 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on June 21. The spot price of natural gas for delivery on June 21 into the Los Angeles market reflected a premium of about $1.28/MMBtu compared with the spot price of natural gas at the Henry Hub. This price was the highest local premium for natural gas at the SoCalGas Citygate relative to Henry Hub since early 2014 when several episodes of cold weather contributed to high natural gas prices. Moreover, this was the highest differential for a summer month since Ventyx Energy Velocity began reporting Intercontinental Exchange spot natural gas prices at the SoCalGas Citygate trading point in 2008.

EIA commented earlier in June in the Southern California Daily Energy Report that SoCalGas underground natural gas storage inventories were lagging behind levels during the summer of 2016.

June 5, 2017

SoCalGas working natural gas inventories currently 15 billion cubic feet lower than last year at this time

Naturagl gas inventory for the current year, last year, and a range of the previous five years

According to the Southern California Energy Reliability Summary released on May 19, 2017, Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) held roughly 14.8 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of working natural gas in its Aliso Canyon storage field as of May 1, 2017. Total working stocks at that time in all of SoCal's facilities were 41.4 Bcf.

EIA's Southern California Daily Energy Report showed that as of June 5, total SoCalGas system working inventories were 46.9 Bcf, 15.3 Bcf (25%) lower than at this time last year and 46.5 Bcf (50%) lower than the five-year (2011–15) average at that time.

On May 8, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) directed SoCalGas to maximize storage injections at its remaining available storage facilities. Since May 8, total storage injections have averaged about 0.2 Bcf per day (Bcf/d). SoCalGas injected 0.3 Bcf into storage on May 24, the company's largest storage injection in 2017, according to data from IHS PointLogic.

The CPUC highlighted the need to increase natural gas stored at SoCalGas's Honor Ranch, La Goleta, and Playa del Rey storage fields in the May 19 Aliso Canyon Mitigation Measure plan. Moreover, the Aliso Canyon Technical Assessment Group – which includes experts from the CPUC, California Energy Commission (CEC), the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), and SoCalGas hydraulic modeling support – kept in place mitigation measures adopted from the 2016 mitigation review and added a new initiative for 2017 requesting SoCalGas to maximize natural gas storage injections at non-Aliso storage facilities.

November 21, 2016

EIA creates new winter edition of its daily energy dashboard for Southern California

EIA has updated its Southern California Daily Energy Report to provide a "winter" edition of market information (the original "summer" edition also remains available from a pull-down menu bar at the top of the main dashboard). The dashboard includes important information that EIA regularly collects about energy operations and the management of electricity and natural gas systems in Southern California in the aftermath of a leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in October 2015. The leak has since been plugged but has resulted in continuing limitations on the use of that facility. The winter edition provides more details on natural gas activity than the summer edition, which focuses primarily on electricity markets that are the main source of summer demand for natural gas in the region. EIA updates the dashboard at about 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time every morning. Key elements in the winter dashboard include:

Chart of deliveries of natural gas from interstate NG pipelines an PG&E

Interstate natural gas pipelines and the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) system deliver natural gas into the SoCalGas system. With less natural gas available from storage, deliveries to SoCalGas are likely to be more important this winter than in the past. This new chart shows daily deliveries of natural gas to each of SoCalGas' major receipt zones: Southern, Northern, and the Wheeler Ridge area. SoCalGas has firm access rights up to a total of 3.565 Bcf/d of natural gas from these three zones. However, this level would not be enough to meet demand on a peak winter day, so SoCalGas supplements these supplies with withdrawals from its four underground natural gas storage fields and modest amounts of natural gas produced in Southern California in its Coastal Zone and Line 85 Zone.

Natural gas receipts and demand

Recent daily natural gas receipts and demand (sendout) help determine if daily non-storage sources of natural gas are sufficient to meet demand. Net daily changes in SoCalGas storage inventories show how storage injections and withdrawals balance demand for natural gas with available supplies.

Naturagl gas inventory for the current year, last year, and a range of the previous five years

The annual trend in natural gas storage inventories in Southern California is compared with last year's inventory level at this time and with the previous five-year range. Lower storage levels relative to prior winters indicate how much less in-region stored natural gas is available to meet natural gas demand this winter. Although current restrictions do not allow natural gas injections into Aliso Canyon, on November 1, 2016, SoCalGas requested authorization from the California Public Utility Commission and the State Oil and Gas Supervisor (Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources) to reinject natural gas at Aliso Canyon in some of the wells.

Chart of price ranges for market and supply points

Changes in spot natural gas prices can indicate constraints or disruptions in the natural gas system. Much higher-than-normal price differences between downstream (demand) market points, like the PG&E Citygate or the SoCal Citygate, and upstream (supply) market points, like in Western Wyoming, the San Juan Basin, or West Texas and Southern California border, can indicate conditions including wellhead freeze-offs, high market demand, cold weather in the Southwest, high use of pipeline networks, or unplanned outages on pipelines. This new daily chart shows how winter market fundamentals (supply, demand, and storage) can lead to price differences between the Southern California border and market and supply trading points relevant to Southern California.

The "market" columns show how much higher the spot price of natural is at the SoCal Citygate or the PG&E Citygate compared with the SoCal Border. Conversely, the "supply" columns show how much higher the spot price of natural gas is at the SoCal Border compared with the supply areas of Western Wyoming, the San Juan Basin, and West Texas. California Citygate natural gas prices are usually higher than the natural gas price at the Southern California border because of the additional costs to transport natural gas from the border to the Citygate. The spot price of natural gas at the SoCal Border is usually higher than the spot price of natural gas at the upstream trading points to cover those transportation costs. However, these differences can be negative when other destination markets provide more value than the Citigates or Border. In those cases, the smaller-than-normal or negative difference signals that little gas is likely to be moving from the higher-priced source areas to the lower-priced California market.

The previous 365-day and 30-day ranges only account for trade days within those ranges. As of now, data are not included in the EIA database.

SoCal Border prices for the current and last year

Southern California daily natural gas prices for 2015 and 2016 show the Southern California Border price. Higher prices at the SoCal Border can reflect periods of stress on the energy delivery systems. So far in 2016, prices have reflected mixed levels of stress. During the spring and early summer, natural gas prices were generally low. Nationally, the 2015–16 winter that was warmer than normal reduced the need to withdraw natural gas from underground storage facilities to operate natural gas-fired furnaces. This, in turn, lowered the need to buy natural gas in the spot market in early spring to backfill for depleted inventories. Relatively plentiful hydroelectricity, increased electricity imports, and more generation from solar and wind resources also eased demand for natural gas for electricity generation. There were several episodes of natural gas price volatility during summer 2016 when the local price of natural gas at the SoCal Border and the SoCal Citygate spiked temporarily. These price increases mostly resulted from warmer-than-normal temperatures coupled with pipeline constraints and reduced regional storage deliverability.

Temperature chart with record, average, actual, and forecasted ranges

Past actual temperatures and near-future forecasts of daily low and high temperatures are provided for Los Angeles. For the winter, temperatures are a good measure of likely furnace load for space heating needs, and Los Angeles is the center of the metropolitan area. These daily ranges are compared with normal ranges and with record ranges.

Total load chart

Hourly electric load is summed across Southern California, including load by these utilities: Southern California Edison, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, San Diego Gas and Electric Company, and the Imperial Irrigation District in the winter report. Historically, Aliso Canyon provided natural gas supply flexibility to manage variability in daily and hourly electricity demand. These levels are compared with historical ranges to show if the current load is high or low. The black line is the coincident peak load record.

Chart of DC intertie electricity flows to CAISO

To have natural gas available to meet residential and commercial customer needs on the coldest days, electric utilities and grid managers may rely on electricity imports to a greater extent than when Aliso Canyon was fully operational and when SoCalGas had much higher levels of stored gas available. This new chart illustrates the role that electricity imports from the Pacific Northwest into California play in meeting Southern California's seasonal loads. The chart shows hourly electricity flows transmitted by the Bonneville Power Administration to CAISO along the Pacific DC Intertie. For yesterday, the chart shows the following information for the Pacific DC Intertie to CAISO path: total transfer capability, day-ahead flows, and actual flows for delivery to CAISO. For today, the chart shows the day-ahead flows from the Pacific DC Intertie to CAISO.

Chart of SP-15 locational marginal prices

Spot electricity prices at the SP15 trading point — the main zone for trading electricity in Southern California — are reported by hour. EIA uses CAISO's 15-minute data for SP15 across each of the four intervals per hour to derive average hourly prices for yesterday's day-ahead market and real-time market. This calculation also provides a schedule of the locational marginal prices (LMPs) for today's day-ahead by hour. Using hourly LMPs instead of daily, on-peak, average LMPs makes it easier to assess how changes in hourly loads and key hourly electricity imports align with changes in hourly prices. The chart lines do not show prices that exceed $100 per megawatthour, but users can see these prices by directing their keyboard pointer or mouse to the location on the chart where the prices exceeds the $100/MWh range.

Southern California map with zones

This updated regional map shows the key natural gas pipeline and storage infrastructure in Southern California. The map now includes a daily total of natural gas receipts from interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines by major zones in the SoCalGas system. The map does not show the relatively modest amount of Southern California natural gas production flowing into the SoCalGas system, but these supplies are part of the overall natural gas receipts already reported in the dashboard's Natural Gas Receipts and Sendout chart.

September 19, 2016

EIA releases new daily energy information for Southern California

EIA's new dashboard, the Southern California Daily Energy Report, shows how electricity and natural gas are being managed in Southern California following the discovery of the leak at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in October 2015. The dashboard includes important information that EIA regularly collects about energy operations in Southern California. EIA updates the report at about 10:00 a.m. every morning. Key elements in the dashboard tab section include:

Hourly electric load across Southern California, including details about that load by utilities including Southern California Edison, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, San Diego Gas and Electric Company, and the Imperial Irrigation District. Historically, Aliso Canyon provided natural gas supply flexibility to manage variability in daily and hourly electricity demand. These levels are compared with historical ranges to show if a load is high or low.

Past actual and near-future forecasts of daily low and high temperatures in Los Angeles. For the summer, temperatures are a good measure of likely electric load, and Los Angeles is the center of the metropolitan area. These daily ranges are compared to normal ranges and to record ranges to show whether temperatures are high or low.

Recent daily natural gas receipts and sendout levels to determine if daily non-storage sources of natural gas are sufficient to meet demand. Net daily changes in aggregate SoCalGas storage inventories on the dashboard show how storage injections and withdrawals balance demand for natural gas with available supplies.

The annual trend in natural gas storage inventories in Southern California is compared with last year's inventory level at this time and with the preceding five-year range for comparison. Restrictions do not allow natural gas injections into Aliso Canyon as of early September. The resulting gap in storage could limit storage inventory available to meet natural gas demand this winter.

Southern California daily wholesale on-peak power and natural gas prices are graphed for 2015 and 2016. Prices in these actively traded markets reflect periods of stress on the energy delivery systems. So far in 2016, prices have reflected fairly low levels of stress because relatively plentiful hydroelectricity, imports, and renewable solar and wind sources have been able to meet electricity demand.

A regional map shows pricing locations and utility service areas in Southern California.

This data-heavy part of the report in PDF form can be printed as a one-page fact sheet. The content of the dashboard is likely to change over time as issues emerge, new data sources are identified, and our thinking evolves. Occasionally, we will include short posts in the Commentary tab that will include more details or explanations.

For interested readers, the Commentary section also includes links to sources other than EIA such as the Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability' Energy Assurance Daily report, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's weather forecasts, and reports and data from the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Independent System Operator, and SoCalGas.

Background articles

Natural gas generation and electricity imports used to follow load in California, Today in Energy, September 7, 2016

California is using more renewables and less natural gas in its summer electricity mix, Today in Energy, September 6, 2016

Southern California natural gas inventories nearly flat this injection season, Today in Energy, August 9, 2016

Natural gas leak at California storage site raises environmental and reliability concerns, Today in Energy, February 1, 2016