With predictions for another warmer-than-normal winter in the United States, energy demand may be dampened, but there will still be enough cold snaps to provide for periods of natural gas price spikes, Sempra Energy Trading’s meteorologist told an industry conference for marketers and buyers in Los Angeles Tuesday.

Daniel Guertin, the Sempra trading unit meteorologist based in Stamford, CT, said he forecasts a winter that is 6% warmer than normal. And that would come on the heels of last winter’s 10% warmer-than-normal weather. “It is going to be warm,” he said. “Our forecast for the overall period of time, however, shows that even in the warmest winters, we have times of very low temperatures.”

Guertin said that the nation can also count on six to seven weeks of very low temperatures and that is enough to spike energy prices over the short term. He told The LDC Forum: Rockies & West participants to count on six to seven weeks of winter no matter what his forecast says about the overall heating season.

In response to a related question to other panel members, Shell Trading and El Paso Corp. marketing executives said they feel there is adequate storage this winter throughout the West.

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