Gas prices shot to $5/MMBtu last Monday at the SouthernCalifornia border and PG&E Citygate, and hourly intra-daypeaking prices on the California Power Exchange spiked to $863/MWh.Day-ahead peaking power prices got as high as $470.
Articles from Heavy
In the midst of a Stage Two emergency alert by the state gridoperator, California generating plants used every cubic foot ofnatural gas they could squeeze through the state’s pipeline systemto keep the air conditioners humming in response to a statewideheat wave throughout the inland valleys and deserts. The secondstage alert, enacted less than two hours after a Stage One had beencalled, required major utilities to seek voluntary curtailmentsamong some of their largest power users.
Led by heavy buying interest in winter months, natural gasfutures continued to defy gravity yesterday as traders bid themarket up for the seventh straight session. June finished up 5.2cents at $3.448, but the real story was the Nov-Mar. strip, whichnotched an impressive 7.3-cent gain to close at $3.613.
Although the Northeast power grid remained under heavy stressTuesday from an intense heat wave, hourly spot prices for electricitywere backing off from the peaks of $6,000/MWh hit Monday afternoon inthe ISO New England service area (see related story in this issue). Although gasprices continued to advance Tuesday, a large aggregator felt confidentin predicting they will be following power quotes lower today.
What goes up, must come down,” was one trader’s description ofyesterday’s late sell-off in the natural gas pit at Nymex. However,a more appropriate expression might have been “what can’t keepgoing up, must come down,” because after pressing through stubbornresistance at $3.20 Monday morning, the June contract hadlanguished on either side of $3.20 for two days, unable to attractmuch in the way of follow-through buying. That range-bound tradingcame to an abrupt end Wednesday when fresh storage data wasreleased. The June contact finished down 9.1 cents at $3.126.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp., one of the producing industry’s heavyhitters, added more pop to its bat on Opening Day yesterday withthe announced purchase of independent producer Union PacificResources (UPR). Anadarko said the purchase will vault the companyinto the top six companies in terms of both North Americanproduction and reserves.
Heavy merger activity is impacting the wholesale energymarketing segment, causing several of the top-20 marketers of 1998to exit the market, and spurring other companies to acquire assetsand start online trading, a new study has found.
Under heavy pressure from near record-setting high temperatures,the natural gas market caved in yesterday as traders continued toliquidate long positions. After opening at $2.80 the Decembercontract was hit with a Microsoft-like drop, breaking through keysupport levels at $2.74 and $2.70, to finish off 21.9 cents at$2.665.