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NEI's Energy Markets Report - March 31-April 4, 2008

Here's a summary of what went on in the energy markets last week:
Electricity peak prices increased $4-32/MWh at all hubs. ERCOT increased $31.70/MWh as it returned to its average range from the depressed prices the week before. Colder temperatures at the beginning of last week for the Northeast and Southwest hubs increased electricity prices by $8-10/MWh (see pages 1 and 3).

Gas prices at the Henry Hub rose $0.58 to $9.60/MMBtu. According to EIA’s STEO, the recent upward price shift reflects a number of factors, including the drop-off in LNG imports compared to year-ago levels, high oil prices, and the drawdown in storage to the lowest levels in 4 years (see pages 1, 2 and 3).

Estimated nuclear plant availability fell to 79 percent last week. Four units began refueling while only one finished. Perry 1 was down for a planned maintenance outage and Oconee 2 was briefly down due to a low condenser vacuum (NRC, see pages 2 and 4).

Crude oil spot prices fell $0.70 to $104.49/barrel. WTI crude oil prices, which averaged $72.32 per barrel in 2007, are projected to average $101 per barrel in 2008 and $92.50 per barrel in 2009 (EIA STEO, see pages 1, 2 and 3).

Given the assumption that summer temperatures this year will be close to normal, total annual electricity consumption is expected to grow at a relatively slow rate of 0.7 percent in 2008 and return to a more normal rate of 1.3 percent in 2009. Modest growth in electricity consumption and increases in hydropower and wind generation are expected to keep growth of coal consumption in the electric power sector to about 0.5 percent and 0.3 percent in 2008 and 2009 (EIA STEO, see page 5).
For the report click here. It is also located on NEI's Financial Center webpage.

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