Pennsylvania lawmakers approached Halloween hoping to bring drilling impact fee legislation to the Senate floor before the end of October, but after failing to resolve major issues over the weekend they now hope to pass a bill before Thanksgiving.
Articles from Halloween
Weeks after Halloween’s tricks and treats were gone, natural gas futures traders felt tricked anew Thursday on news of an upward revision in natural gas storage figures by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). News of more gas in storage than first expected along with Thursday’s report of a 16 Bcf build for the week ended Nov. 14 gave the bears the upper hand in morning trade as December futures pushed lower, ultimately settling at $6.316, down 42.7 cents on the day.
It was trick and treat for Westport, CT-based NGS Energy LP on Halloween when it added to its portfolio of merchant natural gas storage facilities on the Gulf Coast and announced that it obtained FERC approval for its Leaf River Energy Center LLC in Mississippi.
After December futures gave back 34.7 cents on Thursday, bearish traders looking to capitalize on the momentum on Halloween felt more tricked than treated. Whether it was a result of bearish weather fundamentals weakening or just traders playing the recent range, the front-month contract ended up closing at $6.783 on Friday, up 35.2 cents from Thursday and 32.1 cents higher than the previous week’s close.
Giving futures market bulls quite a fright on Halloween, December natural gas took out support in the $12.68-70 area in Sunday’s overnight Access trading session and kept the downward pressure in place during Monday’s regular session. December ended up settling at $12.205, down 85 cents from Friday’s close. Prompt-month futures haven’t settled this low since Sept. 16, when October natural gas closed at $11.144.
The horror stories told by commercial and industrial companies this Halloween involved high natural gas prices rather than ghouls and goblins. Gas consumers are struggling to adapt to $7-9/MMBtu natural gas and to the dramatic changes that have taken place in the market over the last four years, according to energy service providers.
While the western energy moguls slept, AMP took over for California’s electric transmission grid operator, CAISO, as an automatic screening agent to throw out any anomalous wholesale electricity bids into its real-time balancing market. It came one second past midnight Wednesday morning, ushering in FERC’s $250/MWh soft cap, but using the $91.87/MWh old cap as the heart of the three-step screening process. AMP stands for “automated mitigation procedure.”
It was appropriately Halloween when the clock struck midnight for California’s electricity financing woes. A short-term, $4.3 billion “bridge” loan for buying wholesale electricity supplies reverted to a higher-interest, three-year term loan, adding to the costs of the state’s foray into power buying at a time when a statewide economic summit was scheduled to take place over the weekend to re-energize the state’s economy.
Raymond James and Associates gave gas buyers a Halloween shrieklast week that could be producing chills all the way through nextApril, perhaps even all of next year. The firm released a chillyforecast of double digit gas prices this winter and said it expectsprices to average $4.50/MMBtu in 2001.
Natural gas futures finished the week on a strong note Friday astraders reacted to an unconfirmed (and later retracted) news reportthat the American Gas Association (AGA) had overestimated theamount of working gas in underground storage facilities. Aftergapping higher on the open, the December contract shuffled higherthroughout much of the session, closing 17.1 cents higher at$4.931.