Weekly Focus: Positively Charged News

Week Beginning March 6, 2023
Experts say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has boosted the United States’ exports of oil and gas, making the U.S. one of the world’s top energy-exporting nations. During the last week of February, the U.S. exported a record 11.1 million barrels of oil per day. The U.S. also leads natural gas exports, currently exporting 10 Bcf per day.
The EIA says that diesel prices in Europe could be volatile this spring as international markets adjust to sanctions placed on Russian oil exports. While warm weather in Europe during January may have reduced diesel prices temporarily, experts warn that Europe’s need for imported petroleum products from further distances could see the prices increase as the spring goes on.
Closer to home, this past week saw heating oil prices on the East Coast decrease by about 3 cents per gallon to an average of $4.246 per gallon. Compared to last year, prices are up about 17 cents per gallon.
Gasoline prices on the East Coast have fallen slightly to $3.244 per gallon from $3.291 per gallon last year. Prices are down about 30 cents per gallon from where they were this time last year.
Diesel prices on the East Coast are down about 12 cents per gallon this week to an average of $4.446 per gallon. Compared to last year at this time, diesel is up almost 30 cents per gallon.
Much like propane prices for the season, there has been little movement up or down again this week. On average, a gallon of propane on the East Coast is going for $3.400 per gallon. Last year at this time, a gallon of propane was averaging $3.610 per gallon.
Natural Gas
The NYMEX 12-month strip price rose for the second week in a row last week, gaining $0.36/dth on some colder weather forecasts through mid-March. In general, domestic gas supply continues to be enough to support current price levels with storage surpluses continuing to grow. 
Last week saw a withdrawal of 81 Bcf, a level that sets storage volumes 19% above the 5-year and 27% above the 1-year averages for the week. This week’s withdrawal is expected to be in the 77 Bcf range, which would increase surpluses to recent averages even more. 
Demand side news impacted the market more than supply last week as temperature forecasts at least through the middle of the month are showing lingering cold in the Midwest and Northeast. Average temperatures in NYC are looking 2-4 degrees colder than normal most days out to about March 19. Further supporting price levels is the continuing reopening of the Freeport LNG plant – it’s demand levels hit about 1.5 Bcf/day last week, close to the expected 2 Bcf/day demand when it’s fully operational.
In general, the price increased on some bullish data and also likely on the fact that the market was due for a pause on any further decreases after moving almost straight down for about two months.
Looking ahead, the market will look to any new catalysts after reacting to mid-March cold weather. Any new news from producers or changes in what is appearing to be a mild April could impact the market.
Power forwards were up $3/MWh last week for the 12-month strip. However, the market was down sharply Monday morning. NYISO UCAP had a few small moves downward, but the outer years in NYC moved up. Overall, the NYC capacity market continues to lack liquidity. PJM Class 1 RECs were down another 1-3%, while Class 2s were up 5%. 
Clean energy sources, like solar and electric vehicles, have helped to reduce the global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide, according to the IEA. In 2022, carbon dioxide from energy-related emissions rose 1%, while in 2021, they rose 6%.