Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Summer 2014 Coal vs Natural Gas Price Environment

Most projections for natural gas fired electricity generation this summer are similar to 2013.  In spite of higher gas prices, coal plant retirements and new build gas plants are expected to preserve the natural gas market share of power generation feedstock.  Offsetting that would be the expectation for weather closer tonormal 

Here is the Henry Hub comparison between 2013 and 2014.  Spot prices are currently as close to 2013 as they have been all year.  But the forward strip holds summer 2014 gas above $4.50, while gas prices fell steadily last year, from mid April through the end of July, and never saw $4.00 again until December.  This would mean gas prices averaging almost $1.00/mcf more than prior year through the heart of the summer.

Coal prices are also up from last year's lows, but not enough to move the delivered $/mmbtu very much, and the testimonial evidence seems to suggest that gas at <$5.00 will out compete eastern coal.