Polar Vortex Pushes LNG Flows Up For US Operator
Excelerate Energy said February 8 the Polar Vortex that has gripped much of North America for the last 10 days contributed to a record flow rate from its Northeast Gateway Deepwater Terminal on February 1.
The terminal, 13 miles (21 km) offshore Boston, reached a peak send-out flow rate that day of 800bn Btu, utilising two of Excelerate Energy’s floating storage and regasification units, the Exemplar and the Express, discharging in parallel through the terminal’s two submerged buoys. The gas is delivered directly into the existing subsea HubLine pipeline, operated by Enbridge’s Algonquin Gas Transmission.
The terminal, completed in 2008, is designed to respond to local market conditions in real-time and can ramp up service to ensure energy providers meet customer demand. The 800bn Btu peak flow rate represents the average gas demand of New England power generators during the January-February periods.
During periods of extreme cold, pipeline deliveries of natural gas in the region usually become constrained, forcing power generators to switch to dirtier fuels, such as oil or coal.
“Excelerate's Northeast Gateway has helped New England prepare for the winter months by supplying natural gas to meet the increased energy demand of the region,” managing director Steven Kobos said. “Deliveries of LNG directly into the Algonquin system helps to bring much-needed market stability and fuel security to the northeast.”
The cold weather also pushed up prices, according to a February 7 weekly release from the US Energy Information Association (EIA). Prices at the Henry Hub national benchmark averaged $2.89/mn Btu but Midwest regional prices averaged $3.63/mn Btu, with a high of $4.66/mn Btu for January 30; and Northeast regional prices averaged $6.95/mn Btu, with a high of $9.95/mn Btu for January 29.
Analysis by PointLogic and cited by the EIA said estimated total natural gas demand posted a new single-day record on January 30, topping the previous record set on January 1, 2018. Total estimated demand from the power, industrial, and residential/ commercial sectors and total estimated natural gas exports by pipeline and as feedstock to liquefied natural gas facilities reached 145.9bn ft³, on January 30, compared with the previous record of 143.9bn ft³, set in 2018, according to data from PointLogic Energy.