Frigid weather in the U.S. Southwest choked natural gas supply on Friday as frozen wells starved pipelines, but normal operations were expected to resume over the weekend with a return of milder temperatures.
Unusual cold in the gas-producing Southwest has affected supply equal to 5 percent of U.S. consumption in recent days, shutting power plants and causing rolling blackouts.
Analysts estimated that between 3 billion and 5 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas supply was shut in due to the weather over the past couple of days.
But weaker demand and less brutal weather is expected to ease the situation over the weekend, gas suppliers said.
Gas distributor ONEOK Inc, whose gas gathering and processing assets in the U.S. Midcontinent were disrupted by the cold weather on Friday, said that operations would likely return to near normal over the weekend.
Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners said they had been experiencing some reduced flows on their pipelines but expected normal flows over the weekend.
Regional spot gas prices on El Paso Permian slid about $2.30 per mmBtu on Friday amid prospects for lighter weekend demand and slightly milder weather. Permian prices had gained more than $3 in the previous four days.