January 27th 2020


We can thank January 27th and our good buddy Thomas Edison for the first practical incandescent light bulb (patented on this day in 1880). Edison improved on other flawed designs of the time, realizing a thin filament with high electrical resistance would require only a little current to make it glow. There are now well over 4 billion incandescent bulbs glowing in United States homes alone. Well played sir.

Now for our weekly Jolt, which brings with it a different kind of enlightenment.

Heating Oil

  • Prompt-month heating oil futures decreased 6.73% for the week ending Friday, 1/24, as prices fell $0.1252 per gallon.
  • On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude futures for delivery in February closed at $54.19 per barrel on Friday, 1/24, down 2.69% for the day, and down 7.49% for the week.

Why So Crude? Crude oil prices dropped significantly last week and continued to slide through Monday, trading just under $53 a barrel. New York-traded West Texas Intermediate, the benchmark for U.S. crude, hit its lowest point since the week of November 17th partially due to worries caused by the coronavirus outbreak in China. The virus has already killed dozens of people and prompted Chinese authorities to enforce travel restrictions in the middle of the Lunar New Year. Experts estimate that the outbreak has reduced demand by 200,000 barrels of refined oil products. The Baker Hughes oil rig count also increased again last week, going from 673 to 676 and indicating elevated domestic production.

Natural Gas

  • Prompt-month natural gas futures decreased $0.11 for the week ending Friday, 1/24, to settle at $1.893/Dth.
  • Overall supply increased by 1.4 Bcf from the previous week. Total demand increased by 15.5 Bcf.
  • Natural gas exports in October 2019 were 424,866 million cubic feet, compared with 306,646 million cubic feet in October 2018. This is a 38.55% increase.
  • Net withdrawals from storage totaled 92 Bcf, compared with the 5 year average net withdrawal of 194 Bcf and last year’s net withdrawal of 152 Bcf during the same week.
  • Working gas stocks total 2,947 Bcf, coming in 251 Bcf more than the five-year average and 554 Bcf more than last year at this time.

Bear With Us! The price action in the natural gas futures arena has been bearish since early November when the price failed at $2.905 per MMBtu on the nearby NYMEX futures contract. Last week, the price fell to its lowest since 2016 and the lowest price in January this century, which is already two decades old. – Seeking Alpha


  • Average peak prices in NYC increased last week, rising $23.34 to $47.04 per MWh.
  • Average peak prices in Central NY’s Zone C increased, rising $7.73 to $28.80 per MWh.
  • Average peak prices in New Jersey’s PSE&G increased, rising $11.07 to $33.94 per MWh.
  • Average peak prices in New Jersey’s ACE increased, rising $10.81 to $33.41 per MWh.
  • Average peak prices in Pennsylvania’s PPL increased, rising $11.95 to $31.98 per MWh.
  • Average peak prices in Maryland’s BGE increased, rising $9.23 to $33.00 per MWh.
  • Calendar 2020 prices in NYC decreased $1.13 per MWh, and Zone C prices decreased $0.41 per MWh.
  • Calendar 2020 prices in PSE&G decreased $0.80 per MWh, and ACE prices decreased $0.72 per MWh.
  • Calendar 2020 prices in PPL decreased $0.71 per MWh.

See The Light! By harnessing the temperature difference between Earth and outer space, this device prototype produced enough electricity at night to power a small LED light. – Science News


AI Tech! IBM is using its AI-based health prediction skills to help tackle the challenge of Huntington’s disease. The tech firm has teamed up with CHDI Foundation on an artificial intelligence model that can predict when patients will experience Huntington’s symptoms and, crucially, determine how rapidly those symptoms will progress. – Engadget

Marathon Cares

Special Olympics! Energo’s Daniel Francisco and his wife have done amazing work in helping to raise funds to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey, including organizing charitable events that raised nearly $6,000. To learn more about Special Olympics New Jersey and how you can help, click here.

Remember, if you or your company are involved in helping your community, please let us know by emailing us here. After all, Marathon Cares.