Winter Storm Elliott Pushing Natural Gas Prices Higher
Winter Storm Elliott is bringing a nasty Christmas gift to western Kansas this year, with life-threatening cold temperatures and wind chills of -50 degrees and one to three inches of wind-blown snow. Under those conditions, electric and gas consumption will be higher than normal.
Midwest Energy is advising customers that while it doesn’t anticipate any critical shortages of electricity or natural gas, supplies will be tight. The price of natural gas has increased significantly over the last few days, with anticipated gas prices on the spot market to rise from under $7 per dekatherm to $45 or more by Saturday, Dec. 24. However, the situation today is different than that of February 2021’s Winter Storm Uri, which saw gas prices pass $620 per dekatherm.
“This is a very different event than February 2021,” said Bill Dowling, Midwest Energy’s Vice President of Engineering and Energy Supply. First, this storm event is forecast to last two days, much shorter than Uri which lasted more than five days; Second, it doesn't seem as likely that the severe cold will impact the gas producing areas of west Texas as hard as it did in 2021. Lastly, the gas storage picture is generally favorable, and better than the storage position was in February 2021."
To prepare for this event, Midwest has scheduled additional gas supplies for its generating facility, and has increased its nomination for gas on all the interstate pipelines serving its retail customers through Saturday, Dec. 24. By scheduling additional spot gas in advance of the winter storm period, the company expects to reduce the likelihood of interstate pipelines applying penalties for scheduling insufficient gas supplies.