Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Spot Natural Gas Prices Climb to Eight-Year High

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Spot Natural Gas Prices Climb to Eight-Year High

Article excerpt

By Ronda Fears

Journal Record Staff Reporter

Old Man Winter's late march through the Northeast last month sent April spot prices for natural gas shooting upward to an eight-year high of about $2.04 per million British thermal units in Oklahoma, according to a Houston survey released Wednesday.

April spot prices have not been above the $2 mark since 1985 when the spot market emerged. In April 1985, spot prices were about $2.65.

Severe winter weather that blasted across the northern half of the country in March caused an unexpected surge in natural gas demand and strained storage levels due to heavy withdrawals to meet demand, said Kenneth E. Randolph, vice president of Natural Gas Clearinghouse in Houston.

Usually, gas demand is falling off sharply by the first of March as spring nears. But cooler temperatures were extended this year.

Oneok Inc. of Tulsa, parent company of the utility Oklahoma Natural Gas Co., said Wednesday that for the three months from December through February _ the peak in winter gas demand _ weather in its primary service area of Oklahoma and northern Texas was 35 percent colder than the same period a year before and 5 percent colder than normal.

The clearinghouse survey of four pipeline receipt points in Oklahoma showed a 25-cent spike in the average April spot gas price, bringing it to $2.04 per million Btu. That was 14 percent higher than the March average of $1.79 and 60 percent more than the $1.28 average in April 1992.

Surveywide, the average April spot price was $2.09 per million Btu, a 13.6 percent gain from an average $1.84 in March and a 57 percent spike from the $1.33 average in April 1992.

There are 19 receipt points or zones in the entire survey.

For April, average spot prices at the receipt points or zones, on a per million Btu basis, were: ANR at Custer County, Oklahoma _ $2. …

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