The S&P Global Platts Inside FERC Gas Market Report August bidweek national average natural gas price fell 9 cents to $2.64/MMBtu as expectations for milder weather across much of the country weighed heavily on the market.
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The August bidweek price at benchmark Henry Hub fell 9 cents to $2.97/MMBtu, a nearly 3% decline from the July bidweek price.
The slide in August prices came as the US National Weather Service's official August forecast called for average to below-average temperatures across key demand areas in the Midwest and Southeast. Year on year, the Henry Hub index fared better, rising 30 cents, or around 11%, from August 2016 as an overall tightening of supply-and-demand fundamentals have offered some support to the market.
Toward markets in the Northeast, August bidweek prices at Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Zone 6 New York shed 7 cents from July to average $2.30/MMBtu. In New England, Algonquin Gas Transmission city-gates fell even further, dropping 22 cents to $2.45/MMBtu.
Upstream in the Northeast production regions, Dominion Appalachia prices fell 8 cents during August bidweek to reach $1.73/MMBtu.
The fall in Northeast production area prices came as data from Platts Analytics' Bentek Energy showed regional production set several production records during July, including a new all-time high of 24.8 Bcf/d July 23.
Increased production, coupled with delays and setbacks from new pipeline projects, such as the Nexus Gas Transmission Project and Rover Pipeline, both designed to improve takeaway capacity, has likely put pressure on regional pricing.
Around the Upper Midwest, bidweek prices at Chicago city-gates moved down 5 cents from July to average $2.83/MMBtu. In addition to weakness from upstream markets, additional pressure on Chicago-area prices likely came from increasingly bearish weather outlooks for the region. The latest six- to 10-day and eight- to 14-day outlook from the National Weather Service both called for below-average temperatures extending through mid-month for the central portion of the country, likely limiting cooling demand.
Along the West Coast, bidweek prices did manage some positive price movement as SoCal Gas city-gates rose 2 cents from July to average $3.21/MMBtu.
The strength from key California demand markets comes as the West Coast is expected to be the only region with bullish weather outlooks for August. Additionally, SoCal Gas received approval in late July to resume injections at the company's Aliso Canyon storage field, likely providing additional injection demand in August.
--Curt Mrowiec, firstname.lastname@example.org
--Edited by Valarie Jackson, email@example.com