Natural Gas in Underground Storage

The weekly EIA Natural Gas Storage Report advised today that there was a draw of 19Bcf from Underground Storage for the week ending 11/29/19.

This is 3Bcf below the forecast of a 22Bcf draw, the average prediction of sector analysts and traders in the Dow Jones Newswires weekly survey. This compares with a draw of 62Bcf last year and a 41Bcf draw for the five-year average. Storage is 591Bcf above last year for the same week and 9Bcf below the 5-year average. Working gas in storage stands at 3,591Bcf. (Read More ...)

Natural Gas Pricing


As of 10:13AM CST, January 2020, (the prompt month) Natural Gas was trading at $2.45, -$0.09 from one week ago and the 1-Year Spread average was $2.35, -$0.05 from one week ago.

Crude Oil Pricing


As of 9:01AM CST, January, 2020, (the prompt month) Light, Sweet Crude on the NYMEX was at $58.63, +0.37 from one week ago.

Crude Oil Inventory


US crude inventories decreased by 4.9 million barrels to 447.1 million for the week ended November 29th, according to data released yesterday morning by the US Dept of Energy. Traders in the Reuters poll projected an decrease of 1.7 million barrels.

U.S. Rotary Rigs


According to the Baker Hughes Count, US Rotary Rigs targeting Natural Gas were +2 at 131 for the week ending November 27th and -58 from last year.

Rigs targeting Crude were -3 at 668. There are 219 fewer rigs targeting oil than last year. Canadian Rigs were -11 at 126 and -73 from last year. US Rigs drilling for oil drop 1% to 83% of all drilling activity.

Geopolitical


New US energy secretary: ‘There’s a bright future for coal’: The US Senate confirmed former deputy energy secretary Dan Brouillette to be the next energy secretary last night. Yesterday, Brouillette said that Donald Trump told him to figure out a way to boost coal.

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Brouillette, who was accompanied by his predecessor, Rick Perry, said, “What the president has directed us to do is to look for different ways to utilize coal.”

The Senate confirmed Brouillette 70-15. He has not yet been sworn in. As Electrek previously reported, Brouillette takes an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy. He actively supports green energy such as solar, but he also still backs fossil fuels.

Brouillette (pictured, right) succeeds Perry (pictured, left), who announced his resignation in October. Perry’s last day as energy secretary was Sunday. Perry resigned amid questions about whether he was involved in the withholding of military aid for Ukraine, as part of the impeachment inquiry.

When Josh Siegel, an energy and environment reporter at the Examiner, asked Perry and Brouillette about the fact that coal is rapidly declining in the market, Brouillette replied:

"There are other uses for this product in the marketplace today. We can make carbon from it, we can extract rare earth metals from it. We can look at the residue, for instance, from coal ash, and pull out critical materials for battery storage. There’s a bright future for coal."... (ed note- meanwhile, back on planet Earth,)

Weather

The AccuWeather 1-5 Day Outlook forecasts above-normal temps for most of the US with the exception of the East Coast, which is expected to be below-normal and the north-south states just west of the East Coast, which are expected to be at normal temps.

The 6-10 Day Outlook forecasts above-normal temps for the the East Coast, Southeast, Gulf States and West Coast. The North-Central states are expected to be at below-normal temps with the balance of the US at normal temps.

The 11-15 Day Outlook forecasts above-normal temps for the East Coast, South Texas and much of the West Coast. The North-Central states will be at below-normal temps and the balance of the country is expected to be at normal temps. 

The 30-Day Outlook shows normal temps for  the entire US with the exception of a circle of states centered around Utah, which are projected to be at below-normal temps. Additionally, Central Texas is expected to be at above-normal temps.

The 90-Day Outlook shows normal temps for the  entire country at normal temps except Florida, Oregon and Washington state, which are expected to be at above-normal temps. Additionally, the Great Lakes area is expected to be at below-normal temps.

Severe Weather: The North-Central states are expected to see temperatures far below normal over the next week and the Northeast has a moderate risk of the same. Heavy precipitation is expected in the Southeast and Washington state (Read More ...)

Sustainable and Renewable Energy   


Cheap at Last, Batteries Are Making a Solar Dream Come True; Solar power is increasingly available around the clock as energy storage become more affordable: Todd Karin was prepared when California’s largest utility shut off power to millions of people to avoid the risk of wildfires last month. He’s got rooftop solar panels connected to a single Tesla Powerwall in his rural home near Fairfield, California. “We had backup power the whole time,” Karin says. “We ran the fridge and watched movies.”

Californians worried about an insecure energy future are increasingly looking to this kind of solution. Karin, a 31-year-old postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, spent just under $4,000 for his battery by taking advantage of tax credits. He's also saving money by discharging the battery on weekday evenings, when energy is more expensive. He expects to save around $1,500 over the 10 years the battery is under warranty.

The economics don’t yet work for every household, but the green-power combo of solar panels plus batteries is popping up on a much bigger scale in some unexpected places. Owners of a rice processing plant in Arkansas are building a system to generate 26 megawatts of solar power and store another 40 MW. The plant will cut its power bill by a third, and owners say they will pass the savings to local rice growers. New York’s JFK Airport is installing solar plus storage to reduce its power load by 10 percent, while Pittsburgh International Airport is building a 20-MW solar and natural gas microgrid to keep it independent from the local utility. Officials at both airports are worried about recent power shutdowns due to weather and overload-related blackouts.

And residents of the tiny northern Missouri town of Green City (pop. 608) are getting 2.5 MW of solar plus four hours of battery storage from the state’s public utility next year (Read More ...)

This Week's Key Take-Away


Gasoline prices are holding remarkably steady, considering the millions of Americans who hit the road last week for the Thanksgiving weekend. Even with all that extra demand, the national average price of regular unleaded is unchanged from a week ago at $2.59 per gallon. Odds are it’ll drift a bit lower, now that the holiday rush is over. Diesel is also stable, with the national average price of $3.01 unchanged from a week ago and a month ago.

Oil prices are slightly lower, with benchmark West Texas Intermediate recently trading near $56 per barrel, off about $1 from last week. With oil demand likely to ease over the next month or two, prices figure to soften slightly. Signs that the U.S.-China trade war may be further from a cease-fire than previously thought have also been negative for oil and other commodities. WTI willl likely be trading from $50 to $55 per barrel later this month, unless Washington and Beijing reach a big breakthrough in the trade impasse.

Natural gas prices remain low, despite widespread wintry weather across the United States over this past holiday weekend. Benchmark gas futures recently traded at $2.34 per million British thermal units, which is near a multiyear low. Natural Gas stockpiles are ample for this time of year and production continues to grow, so traders are betting that even a cold winter won’t cause any supply issues. Long-lasting, severe cold across the heavily populated Northeast would probably light a fire under gas prices, but barring that scenario, we expect the price slump to continue.

As seen in the chart below, wholesale electricity prices remain low, led by North Texas' ERCOT region, with day-ahead prices below $.02/kWh. The exception is California, due to the continuing problem of Natural Gas storage in the region. Alyso Canyon, the primary storage facility in the area has been operating at a fraction of it's normal capacity, due to a major leak four years ago.