Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:
Electricity peak prices all decreased by more than $5/MWh. Except for the Palo Verde hub, the current week’s averages are all below the last four week’s average. If last year’s seasonal trends repeat this year, electricity prices could be expected to decline and remain below the 52 week average through September and October (see pages 1 and 3).For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.
Gas prices at the Henry Hub fell $0.67 to $6.25/MMBtu (see pages 1 and 3). Natural gas spot and futures prices eased as Hurricane Dean did not have a significant impact on U.S. production in the Gulf of Mexico. Moderate temperatures contributed to the decline, according to EIA.
NYMEX natural gas futures registered steep declines last week, including the largest single-day movements in nearly 20 months. A 97-cent decline for the September 2007 contract on Monday was the largest decline since the January 2006 contract lost $1.26 per MMBtu on December 27, 2005. The decrease occurred as it became clear that Hurricane Dean would not have an impact on Gulf production, according to EIA (see page 2).
The estimated U.S. nuclear plant availability factor averaged 97% for the week. St. Lucie 2 was manually tripped due to a leak in the reactor coolant system. FitzPatrick was offline to repair a safety relief valve located on the main steam line outside of the reactor vessel. Braidwood 2 was down after a storm stopped two pumps which provide water to cool the plant’s condenser (see pages 2 and 4).
For the last four weeks, spark spreads between the Entergy and Henry hubs have averaged the highest spread over the past year. This was due to ample natural gas inventories and high electricity demand in the South region (see pages 1 and 3).