Natural gas futures price slips below $4.00/mmBtu

The New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) energy futures price for August delivery of natural gas slipped 4% to $3.95/mmBtu, according to data posted July 18 on the Energy Information Administration (EIA) web site.

That’s 4% lower than the prior business day, according to EIA. The prior day’s natural gas futures price had been $4.12/mmBtu, which was still about 51 cents more than a week earlier, according to EIA data.

EIA does note, however, that gas futures prices are still higher than a year ago. Genscape said in a recent Internet posting that mild weather is keeping summer demand at lower levels than expected in the Midwest.

Also, in a commentary published on the Motley Fool website, two American Gas Association (AGA) analysts said that “production is as strong as it’s ever been” this summer while cooler summer temperatures compared with 2013 have eased power burn demand this July.

The EIA reported that spot natural gas prices for July 18 were down in nine of the 10 regions tracked by EIA.

The last time that gas futures closed below $4/mmBtu was early December, said an AGA spokesperson. “Interestingly, natural gas prices are now back to pre- winter polar vortex levels just as a summer polar vortex (technically it’s a remnant spoke of the tropospheric circumpolar vortex) settles over the US and brings lower temperatures,” the AGA spokesperson told GenerationHub in an email.

The weather has been cooler-than-normal for mid-July and appears to be depressing spot power prices. None of the 10 regions monitored by EIA showed a spot power price above $50/MWh on July 18. In addition, seven of the 10 EIA regions showed spot power prices below $40/MWh.

It also appears that the level of available baseload nuclear generation remains strong. Only one of the nation’s 100 nuclear reactors was listed at zero generation on a July 18 daily status report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

http://www.genscape.com/blog/mild-weather-keep-midwest-natural-gas-demand-base-load

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/07/17/natural-gas-market-indicators-july-15-2014.aspx

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.