Natural Gas in Underground Storage

The weekly EIA Natural Gas Storage Report advised today that there was an injection of 119Bcf into Underground Storage for the week ending 5/31/2019.

This is Bcf above the median forecast of a 111Bcf injection, the average prediction of sector analysts and traders in the Dow Jones Newswires weekly survey. This compares with an injection of 92Bcf last year and a 102Bcf injection for the five-year average. Storage is 182Bcf above last year for the same week and 240Bcf below the 5-year average. Working gas in storage stands at 1,986Bcf. (Read More...)

Natural Gas Pricing


As of 9:59AM CST, July 2018, (the prompt month) Natural Gas was trading at $2.33, -$0.22 from one week ago and the 1-Year Spread average was $2.51, -$0.16 from one week ago. This represents a 36-month low.

Crude Oil Pricing


As of 10:06AM CST, July, 2018, (the prompt month) Light, Sweet Crude on the NYMEX was at $51.52, -$7.57 from one week ago.

Crude Oil Inventory


US crude inventories increased by 6.8 million barrels to 483.3 million for the week ended May 31st, according to data released yesterday morning by the US Dept of Energy. Traders in the Reuters poll projected a decrease of 0.9 million barrels.

U.S. Rotary Rigs


U.S. Rotary Rigs drilling for natural gas were -2 at 184 for the week of May 31st. The number of rigs currently drilling for Natural Gas was -13 from last year. US Rigs drilling for oil were +3 at 800. The number of rigs currently targeting oil was -61 from last year. Canadian rigs were +7 at 85 for the week. Rigs targeting oil remain at 81% of all US drilling activity.

Geopolitical


On World Environment Day, (June 4) everything you know about energy in the US might be wrong: The energy landscape changes so fast, even experts have trouble keeping up. Prices for renewable power are plummeting, technologies for storage are becoming more cost-effective and what's competitive today isn't what was competitive five years ago –shifts that will only increase in the coming years.

"Air pollution" is the theme as we observe the 45th World Environment Day on Wednesday. Carbon pollution caused by burning fossil fuels is a major contributor to the greenhouse gases causing global warming. To stop the process, we need to stop burning fossil fuels.

The debate over how to do so has gone on for decades. As it has, the energy field has changed  dramatically, shifting the outlines of the discussion. Here’s a quick overview of where things stand:

Coal is over. Coal is more expensive than other major electricity generation systems. U.S. utilities no longer build coal-fired power plants because newer, more efficient natural gas and renewable power plants produce cheaper electricity. That’s partly because of clean air requirements, partly because the coal infrastructure is getting older but mostly because "the price of producing power at natural (Read More...)

Weather

The AccuWeather 1-5 Day Outlook forecasts the Eastern half and Southwest at normal or above-normal temps, with the Northwest and a strip running down the center of the country at below-normal temps.

The 6-10 Day Outlook forecasts above-normal temps for the Western states, with the exception of a small strip in the Central/Western states, which will be at normal temps. The Eastern 2/3 of the nation will be at below-normal temps except for the coasts from Texas to New Jersey, which will be at normal temps.

11-15 Day Outlook forecasts the Southeast and portions of the Northwest at above-normal temps with the balance of the country at normal or below-normal temps.

The 30-Day Outlook shows normal temps for the entire country, with the exception of Northern Texas, Eastern Oklahoma and Eastern Kansas, which are expected to be below-normal. The Southeast Coast from Georgia to Virginia and the Far-Northwest are expected to be at above-normal temps.

The 90-Day Outlook projects normal temps for entire US, except the East Coast from North Carolina to Maine and the far Northwest, which are forecast at above-normal temps.

Sustainability and Renewables


Battery Breakthrough Solves Major Electric Car Problem: It’s no secret that batteries are the most expensive part of an electric vehicle. As such, this is the root of the industry’s problem and a roadblock to making larger strides into the mainstream market. Researchers around the world are racing to solve this problem, and now a team of German scientists say they’ve taken a crucial step in that direction.

The team, from the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS, have devised a new production process for EV batteries that features coating their electrodes with a dry film of chemicals rather than liquids. According to them, this process is less energy-intensive, which means it’s cheaper, and it is also better than the standard process in that it does not involve toxic solvents.

"Our dry transfer coating process aims to noticeably reduce the process costs in electrode coating," project manager Dr. Benjamin Schumm told Phys.org.
"Manufacturers can eliminate toxic and expensive solvents and save energy costs during drying. In addition, our technology also facilitates the use of electrode materials that are difficult or even impossible to process wet-chemically."

The latter part of Schumm’s comment is important: in the future, batteries will be a lot more energy dense than today’s version, and this will require the use of these materials. The team’s binder polymer-based alternative to expensive and toxic wet chemistry comes in anticipation of the batteries of the future, many of which, according to Schumm and his colleagues, will be solid-state (Read More...)

This Week's Key Take-Away


Which way are Electric and Natural Gas prices headed? Actually, if anyone actually knew the answer, they would be in the Bahamas relaxing,,, or in jail. That said, here are some indicators:
  • The NYMEX prompt month for Natural gas has dropped by $0.35 in the four days to the lowest price in the past 3 years. Nationally, electric prices have followed suit, with the exception of those states that face capacity issues.
  • The problem in Texas is that the summer months continue to be priced very high, as fears of extreme heat cause traders to worry about spot prices that could skyrocket. While electric Next Day Power prices in Texas are the lowest in the nation, the summer has not truly hit the state yet and the lack of electric generation has the utilities worried.
  • On the other hand, in this year’s injection season, the outage at Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas export terminal in Louisiana in April made natural gas weaker. Any rise in the summer temperatures might benefit natural gas prices. Natural gas will be burned to supply power to air conditioners in the US.
What this all means as we get into the summer months remains to be seen but the recent drop in natural gas prices after trading in a narrow bandwidth for the past several months should be seen as a good thing for consumers.