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Wednesday Feb 27, 2019   
If you live in Western Canada, I am not sure you know what warm weather feels like as Mother Nature has locked nothing but purple coloration when it comes to the heating degree days (HDD) delta from what is considered a normal winter.  Moving down into the Lower 48, the Pacific Northwest has seen its fair share of below normal temperatures throughout the month of February to a point that Tuesday's high was 37 degrees in Portland, OR.  Just a couple of hours south, the City of Eugene is blanketed with snow that does not melt as the drop in temperatures only make the roads more dangerous. Figure 1 | Eugene, OR latest Snowfall If you migrate over the Rockies and head over to the Upper Midwest, you will see that Mother Nature has no mercy when it comes to the snowfall that has been ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 26, 2019   
Over the past couple of years, the Alberta market has fallen ill to expanding production and system maintenance that restricted excess gas from going into storage.  As a result, the AECO cash basis market has been kept to a minus $1.60 USD discount to the benchmark Henry Hub index.  This was expected to continue on into Q1 of 2019 as NGTL posted their outage schedule back in November 2018 that took all the steam out of the futures curve.  With the expectation of network transportation and export capabilities being restricted, the market assumed that the supply would overwhelm the demand forcing more shut-ins in order to balance.  It was not much of a surprise when the futures value was basically cut in half (from $2.01 to $1.06) on this news. Since that time, the ... » read more
Monday Feb 25, 2019   
This past couple of weeks have seen their fair share of critical notices from almost every natural gas pipeline in the western region.  For example Northwest Pipeline sent out a notice describing how Jackson Prairie's compressor issue would hinder withdrawal capabilities at its current level (at the time it was just north of 10 BCF).  The second part of the notice stated that once the facility hit the 8.5 BCF level the withdrawal capacity would ratchet down t .200 BCF/d.   Figure 1 | Northwest Pipeline - Critical Notice tied to Jackson Prairie Compressor Issue Puget Sound Energy, operator for the Jackson Prairie storage facility, has informed Northwest that the repairs to a critical compressor unit, which was referenced in All Shipper Notice 19-029, will not ... » read more
Friday Feb 22, 2019   
In late January, FERC rejected Public Service of Colorado's (PSCO's) proposal to comprehensively reform its generation interconnection procedures.   This is a pretty big kick in the teeth to PSCO, yet the FERC order received little trade press coverage.  Although PSCO's filing was far from perfect, it enjoyed more support than opposition: no industry coalition or national-scale developer asked for rejection.  Protests and comments could be better described as "surgical" or even “helpful”. The reason to seriously consider adoption of a less-than-perfect interconnection reform proposal by a non-RTO utility is pretty simple: something needs to be done with PSCO's queue.  PSCO's total load is 8.5 GW yet its queue stands at ~24 GW, with 19 GW of that total ... » read more
Thursday Feb 21, 2019   
Massachusetts introduced a state carbon policy in 2017 to limit in state generator emissions. When we initially looked at this issue in the Northeast Mass Carbon market flash, the actual emissions from 2017 exceeded the limits set forth for 2019 and 2020 by a significant margin. The tide appears to have turned with the emissions over the course of 2018 taking a significant dive. However, what appears too good to be true usually is. While well intentioned, there were no controls put in place that would account for brown energy flowing over the transmission lines. Massachusetts appears to have asked the question, “Why kick the can down the road, when you can toss it over the fence?” Actual emission from 2018 fell dramatically with over a 2 million ton reduction in carbon ... » read more
Wednesday Feb 20, 2019   
The past few weeks in the Pacific Northwest have given everyone a glimpse of what a winter in the Midwest, Ohio Valley, Northeast is like as the temperatures are sitting well below normal from Alberta down through Oregon/Idaho and parts of Northern California.  The conversation has been all about the marginal gas molecule as the pipeline infrastructure has been hit with issues stemming from the Aliso Canyon storage facility to the pipeline capacity touching Socal Gas's system.  When you throw in the fact that the Enbridge pipeline up in Canada is hindering normal gas flows down into Washington/Oregon via the Sumas compressor and the strain on the power plants on Northwest pipeline (NWP) it is no wonder the molecule has taken front and center stage. Behind the scenes, the Pacific ... » read more
Tuesday Feb 19, 2019   
Coming into this winter, many had assumed that natural gas production volume would continue its upward climb. The early spike in prices at the beginning of the withdrawal season combined with an abundance of company guidance suggested that it was possible to see a 10% increase in total volume from Q4 into Q1 2019. That should have put the total over 89 BCF per day prior to the start of the injection season. But it has not played out that way. Production volumes have been a big disappointment falling from 88 to 86.5 BCF. The warm climate during December and January may have overshadowed the production drop this year but this will come back into the spotlight as we start the refill season.  Figure 1 | Lower 48 Production Volume The spike in winter prices heading into the season should ... » read more
Monday Feb 18, 2019   
Over the years, I have been traveling to San Diego for leisure, work commitments and soccer tournaments.  We usually are on the north side, heading past La Jolla and ending up near Del Mar or slightly inland near Rancho Bernardo.  On many occasion there has been some news article in the local paper that compares San Diego to that of Portland, OR.  The range of topics included the urban downtown development, bike lanes, public transportation and last but not least the micro-brew scene.   Over the past 3-4 years, the San Diego breweries have gained national recognition starting with Ballast Point taking their bottled beer nationwide along with Stone Brewery making what I call the Taj Mahal of dining as the indoor/outdoor eating areas are truly amazing.  There ... » read more
Friday Feb 15, 2019   
With the colder weather in Western Canada and the Pacific Northwest well documented over the past couple of weeks, the natural gas pipeline infrastructure has been on high alert via the pipeline critical notices known as OFO's.  Figure 1 | Portland Temperatures - Actual and Forecast This alert system extends all the way down into Southern California as SoCal Gas's system has been tight ever since the Aliso Canyon valve leak as well as the limited transport capacity from the Desert Southwest via its North Zone.  As a result of the SoCal Gas issues, the Westcoast Pipeline explosion and the lingering cold weather across the west, the other storage facilities are feeling the pain as we speak.  For example, this week Northwest Pipeline (NWP) sent out a notice that stated ... » read more
Thursday Feb 14, 2019   
The Northeast has had a wild ride throughout late winter. While early winter was relatively mild, entering the second half of January erratic weather patterns shifted throughout the region. An initial burst of cold drove down temperatures, the reaction by energy markets was short-lived. Just after the extreme cold hit the region a warm low pressure system from the South engulfed the Northeast thawing out the accumulated snow and softening energy prices. The polar vortex in late January resulted in freezing conditions reaching wind chills in the -50 to -62 degree range in the Midwest which can result in frostbite in as little as five minutes. The high pressure system eventually made its way towards the Coast causing a precipitous drop in temperatures throughout all the regions it ... » read more
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