Within the salt storage facilities of the Producing region, working gas levels have remained within the 5-year historical band and each of the scenarios suggests that working gas levels will stay within the 5-year range. In fact, the relative strength of working gas levels in salt dome facilities has kept total working gas levels in the Producing region within the previous 5-year range, as inventory levels at nonsalt facilities dipped below the previous 5-year range early in 2014.
Prices rose across the country due to cold weather. The Henry Hub spot price in Erath, Louisiana, rose by $2.70/MMBtu, from $5.20/MMBtu last Wednesday, to $7.90/MMBtu yesterday. This is the highest Henry Hub has been since September 24, 2008. The widespread colder-than-normal temperatures experienced throughout January and into the first week of February are forecast to continue for another 5 days, helping to lift spot prices across the country. Prices in the Northeast started the report week relatively high, although nowhere near the extreme highs seen on some days earlier in January. On Thursday, prices for delivery to Transco Zone 6 serving New York City and Algonquin Citygate serving Boston declined $7.91/MMBtu and $4.31/MMBtu, respectively, as winter temperatures moderated. However, both trading points saw significant price increases again on Tuesday and Wednesday as another winter storm moved through the Northeast early Wednesday. Prices at Transco Zone 6 increased $3.62/MMBtu on Tuesday and $11.18 on Wednesday to end the report week at $20.77/MMBtu, up $6.51/MMBtu from the previous Wednesday. Prices at Algonquin Citygate increased $11.88/MMBtu on Tuesday and $1.15 on Wednesday to end the report week at $24.35/MMBtu, up $9.47/MMBtu from the previous Wednesday.
Much of the central part of the country also experienced significant price increases on Wednesday because of the cold weather and the potential for freeze-offs to reduce Rockies supplies. Prices in the Midcontinent region began the report week in the $5-$6/MMBtu range, but spiked yesterday to end the week in the $20-$40/MMBtu range. Farther north, in the Midwest region, which includes the Chicago Citygate point, prices followed a similar pattern, increasing by $10-$20/MMBtu on Wednesday after only moderate price changes earlier in the week. Chicago Citygate prices started the report week at $6.43/MMBtu, but increased $18.86/MMBtu on Wednesday to end the week at $27.45/MMBtu, the second-highest price on record, only surpassed by last Monday's high of $41.96/MMBtu. Chicago prices typically are in line with Henry Hub, so a Chicago price spike like this is extraordinary. Prices in the Rockies followed the same general pattern, with prices at the Opal trading point increasing $22.12/MMBtu on Wednesday to end the report week at an all-time high of $30.18/MMBtu.