Sunday, October 28, 2018

Wow! Why I Love To Blog -- They Must Be Reading The Blog -- October 28, 2018

Readers are aware that the natural gas story may be the energy story for 2018. See "NG_Fill_Rate" tag; the "NG_Fill_Rate_2018_2019" tag; and, the "NG_2018" tag. Now this headline story over at can US gas demand keep up with surging production? That's a crazy headline. The headline should read: can US natural gas producers/logistics keep up with winter demand? After all, that's what the sub-headline asks: natural gas production in the US hit another high this week, but storage capacity may pose a problem heading into the winter months.

Hmmmm....interesting. I had missed that angle. Looking at the EIA data I wasn't seeing that story. The fill rate is at historic lows, well off the 5-year minimum. One would not think there's a storage problem. So let's see what has to say. If it's written by Nick Cunningham, I'll give it a pass. LOL.

Nope. Haley Zaremba. So, here goes. Data points:
  • US natural gas production last weekend: 87 billion cubic fee/day -- another record
  • total gas supply now stands at 91 bcf/d "before we even head into winter"
    • note: in the northern tier, once one gets to the end of  October, we have "headed into winter even if the calendar does not say that"; just saying;
  • oh, now I get it; I see what she's saying -- exactly what the EIA has been telling us
    • because of its quick draw, natural gas storage is critical 
    • currently storage is at a 10-year low -- a ten-year low
    • [the author also notes the problem in the Pacific Northwest]
    • estimates for the coming week: an injection rate of 50-60 bcf; well below last week and cleraly not nearly enough to make a dent in the persistent storage deficit
      • Reuters poll
        • a range of 39 bcf to 65 bcf
        • a median build of 51 bcf
        • one year ago: 63 bcf
        • 5-year average: 77 bcf
    • and this is on top of the existing shortage: again, storage is at a ten-year low
  • close reading of the article, and other sources suggest it will be a regional problem
    • New England, for sure
  • whether natural gas becomes the energy story of 2018 depends on two things:
    • how bad the winter is regionally; and,
    • how robust the pipelines are
But, the headline still seems a bit misleading. If I understand this correctly, the "storage problem" is not the "lack of storage" or the "availability of storage," but rather the "fill rate" and right now the fill rate is very, very low. I don't think the writer said "why" the fill rate was so low.

If the US is producing at record rates, why is fill-rate so low and storage at a 10-year low.

Answer: compare the fuel mix in New England two years ago with the fuel mix in New England right now. Coal. As recently as two years ago, New England was using coal. Now, no coal shows up in their fuel mix. The region has switched over to mostly (almost 70%) natural gas; no coal. So, despite the fact that we are not into winter yet, the regions of the country that get colder sooner are already tapping into that natural gas reserve. At least that's my take.

By the way, at the linked ISO New England dashboard note that nuclear energy provides 21% of the regions needs. The region will pretty much shut down nuclear energy in the next couple of years.

No Worries About Natural Gas

Sophia at breakfast and her connected world.

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