U.S. Northwest runoff season to be shorter than expected but still strong, offsetting a projected 140 MMcf/d of incremental natural gas power generation this month

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Despite the slow start to snow accumulation this past winter in the U.S. Northwest, extreme precipitation and mild temperatures during March and April dramatically altered the regional 2012 hydropower outlook. However, weather patterns are expected to shift over the next three months, with below-normal precipitation and hotter-than-average temperatures expected. BENTEK’s Pacific Northwest Observer projects runoff season this year will be stronger than normal, but shorter in duration. As a result, upward price pressure on natural gas forwards basis prices at Sumas is expected for July through October.

BENTEK’s Pacific Northwest Observer projects that in May, peak-hour hydroelectric power generation will average 15,000 MW/h, which is 20%, or 3,000 MW, higher than the five-year average. As a result of this increase, BENTEK projects an incremental 140 MMcf/d of natural gas power generation will be offset, limiting total regional natural gas generation to just 90 MMcf/d this month.

BENTEK’s Pacific Northwest Observer focuses on hydroelectric power generation and how it interacts with regional natural gas supply and demand. Incorporating hydro flow data, power generation and load, as well as natural gas flow data, the Pacific Northwest Observer provides a detailed picture of the integrated power and gas marketplace.

Key features of the Pacific Northwest Observer:

• Natural gas supply, demand and storage trends in the Pacific Northwest region

• Natural gas power burn and transmission inflows/outflows

• Pacific Northwest constraint points and weekly volume changes by market

• Basis analysis for key regional markets including Sumas and PG&E


BENTEK’s California/Southwest Observer provides detailed updates on regional natural gas flow and price information, as well as outages at power plants including the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station and power load analysis.

BENTEK’s Cell Model database balances supply, demand and storage on a region-by-region basis and provides new visibility into the movement of natural gas in the U.S.

To learn more, please contact your BENTEK sales representative or call BENTEK Sales at 1-888-251-1264.