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Big Freeze sends gas upwards while the Arctic Grip becomes firmer

(Bloomberg) – The arctic frost in the central US is expected to worsen, further increasing pressure on energy prices, which were already trading at unprecedented levels over the long weekend holiday. Natural gas hit a record $ 600 per million British thermal units in Oklahoma. Temperatures fell so far below projections in parts of the central and western United States that physical gas prices rose from California to the Rocky Mountains. A hub in Cheyenne, Wyoming, hit up to $ 350 per mmBtu because the information is not public, according to traders who refused to be identified. Heating and power plant fuel traded in southern California for up to $ 195 per mmBtu. If electricity prices are indicative in advance and the weather forecasts are sometimes even accurate, the rise in energy prices is not over. In Texas, the power grid operator is telling people to save energy as the increasing need for heat taxes the electrical system. “It’s a pretty brutal air mass,” said Bob Oravec, a senior branch forecaster at the US Weather Prediction Center. “The cold air is anchored in the central part of the country. High temperatures are surprisingly cold and are around 50 degrees below average. “The US has 797 daily cold temperature records, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. By early Sunday, the coldest location in the U.S. was 25 miles east of Ely, Minnesota, where readings had dropped to -46 degrees Celsius. By 7:00 a.m. in New York, 2,653 flights in the US had been canceled by Monday, most in Dallas and Houston, according to FlightAware, an airline tracking service. Huge increase in wholesale output for Sunday delivery was between $ 3,000 and $ 7,000 megawatt-hours per year in some locations, tripling records in some locations on Saturday, and a staggering 2,672% increase from Friday in West Hub, Texas. Traders said Saturday they had never seen a power trade on the Texas power grid for thousands of dollars for such a sustainable period of time. They made comparisons between this week’s price hikes and the Midwest records in 1998 and the California energy crisis that skyrocketed electricity prices two decades ago and darkened hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses. Temperatures that low and heating demand that high could test Texas electricity price caps on Sunday. Among the other markets moving in the cold: Gas in Chicago hit $ 220 per mmBtu, traders said. Physical gas cost up to $ 300 per mmBtu at a hub in Texas. Oklahoma Gas Prices Eastern US pot gas prices remained subdued with milder temperatures, which hovered between $ 4 and $ 12 per mmBtu on Friday. Price data compiled by Bloomberg shows gas processors across Texas closing when liquids freeze in pipes and disrupt performance as demand increases. And oil production in the Permian Basin, the largest US shale game, is declining as wells slow down or come to a standstill. Texas’s top energy regulator has taken immediate action to give homes, hospitals, utilities and other customers with “human needs” priority access to gas for stoves. Texas Railroad Commission officials warned that there would be “a serious impact on the provision of energy resources” in the days ahead. According to, the wild weather left 668,261 customers in six states without power on Saturday. Oregon and Virginia were hardest hit, with more than 200,000 customers in the dark. Mexico to Canada Fort Worth, Texas, saw as much as four inches of snow fall over the weekend, with temperatures potentially in the single digits of Fahrenheit on Sunday and Monday. Houston will likely get a layer of ice and less than an inch of rain. Freezing rain has already created treacherous driving conditions there. 130 people were killed and dozen injured in Forth Worth on Thursday. Winter storm warnings, clocks, and advice stretch from Brownsville, Texas, on the Mexican border to Maine’s Canadian border. Mexico has snow warnings for northeastern parts of the country and Canada has similar warnings for its maritime provinces. Winter’s worst wrath will miss the major cities along the east coast because the storm’s trail will be too far west, Oravec at the Weather forecast center said. There could be snow showers and ice in New York and Boston, but most of the buildup will take place Monday through Tuesday in New York state and inland New England. “In the large metropolitan areas of the east coast, the worst aspects of this winter weather are missing,” Oravec said. (Adds a Texas Conservation Request in the third paragraph.) For more articles like this, visit Sign up now to keep up with the most trusted business news source. © 2021 Bloomberg LP