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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The 'Supply-of-Storage' for Natural Gas in California


Do natural gas storage decisions in California respond to futures price spreads? Daily data about flows into and out of storage facilities in California over 2001-2005 and daily price spreads on NYMEX are used to investigate whether the net injection profile is consistent with the “supply-of-storage” curve first observed for wheat by Holbrook Working. Storage decisions in California do seem to be influenced by intertemporal signals on NYMEX, but the effect is small. Strong seasonal and weekly cycles determine the net injection profile to a considerable extent. Regulatory requirements and operational constraints also limit the size of the response to intertemporal arbitrage opportunities. Results are surprisingly sensitive to the degree of aggregation.

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