GAS PRICES UP TO $2.990/MMBTU
PLATTS - NYMEX February natural gas futures extended gains overnight in the US leading up to Tuesday's open, on the back of current and midrange weather support. At 7:20 am ET (1220 GMT) the contract was gripping the upside at $2.990/MMBtu, up 3.7 cents on the session.
Frigid weather with temperatures "rivaling that of the past 100 years" will linger across the northeastern and central US to start January, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said in a January 1 forecast. AccuWeather RealFeel temperatures are expected to be below zero over much of the Northeast and well below zero in most of the Midwest.
Further out, the six-to-10-day and eight-to-14-day projections from the National Weather Service show below-average temperatures engulfing portions of the Northwest and a majority of the country's eastern two-thirds, which should keep demand for heating in the residential and commercial sectors and consequently natural gas consumption levels elevated in the weeks ahead.
"Energy demands will skyrocket. Household heating budgets may take a huge hit," Sosnowski added.
Withdrawals from underground natural gas storage facilities are expected to climb into the 200-Bcf range over the next three or four weeks as the cold weather supports rising demand.
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WNA - Apart from adding capacity, utilisation of existing plants has improved markedly since 2000. In the 1990s capacity factors averaged around 60%, but they have steadily improved since and in 2010, 2011 and 2014 were above 81%. Balakovo was the best plant in 2011 with 92.5%, and again in 2014 with 85.1%.
WNA - India has a flourishing and largely indigenous nuclear power programme and expects to have 14.6 GWe nuclear capacity on line by 2024 and 63 GWe by 2032. It aims to supply 25% of electricity from nuclear power by 2050.
WNA - Mainland China has 38 nuclear power reactors in operation, about 20 under construction, and more about to start construction. The reactors under construction include some of the world's most advanced, to give a 70% increase of nuclear capacity to 58 GWe by 2020-21. Plans are for up to 150 GWe by 2030, and much more by 2050.
PLATTS - "The domestic uranium mining industry needs US government assistance to survive the foreign onslaught -- particularly from Russia and Kazakhstan -- that has undermined the US uranium industry while new players -- particularly China -- will soon make the situation worse," Energy Fuels and Ur-Energy said in a petition they jointly filed with the department.