February 24th 2020


Good news for the 5 million people born on February 29th: this weekend, you get to celebrate your birth on the actual day you were born! Leaplings (as they are called) technically get to celebrate their birthdays once every four years, though most celebrate either the day before or the day after.

Did you know that Leap Day is observed because the Earth’s period of orbital revolution around the Sun takes approximately 6 hours longer than 365 whole days? Never fear. Leap Day compensates for this lag, realigning the calendar with the Earth’s position in the Solar System. Phew.

And, according to readers, our Jolt also helps bring things back into alignment.

Heating Oil

  • Prompt-month heating oil futures decreased 0.61% for the week ending Friday, 2/21, as prices fell $0.0104 per gallon.
  • On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude futures for delivery in March closed at $53.39 per barrel on Friday, 2/21, down 0.64% for the day, and up 2.59% for the week.

Why So Crude? Crude oil prices rose last week but tumbled on Monday, trading just under $51 a barrel. Crude oil, along with the market in general, took a significant hit to begin the week as the global coronavirus outbreak worsened. A rash of new cases in South Korea, Italy, and Iran spooked investors and inflamed concerns about falling oil demand as countries scrambled to contain the virus. Crude oil prices did receive some supply-related support due to turmoil in Libya and OPEC’s ongoing attempts to manufacture a shortage with help from Russia. The Baker Hughes oil rig count increased last week, going from 678 to 679 and indicating elevated domestic production.

Natural Gas

  • Prompt-month natural gas futures increased $0.068 for the week ending Friday, 2/21, to settle at $1.905/Dth.
  • Overall supply increased by 0.6 Bcf from the previous week. Total demand increased by 2.9 Bcf.
  • Natural gas exports in November 2019 were 440,193 million cubic feet, compared with 337,716 million cubic feet in November 2018. This is a 30.34% increase.
  • Net withdrawals from storage totaled 151 Bcf, compared with the 5 year average net withdrawal of 136 Bcf and last year’s net withdrawal of 163 Bcf during the same week.
  • Working gas stocks total 2,343 Bcf, coming in 200 Bcf more than the five-year average and 613 Bcf more than last year at this time.

Bounce Back! Last week, the natural gas market experienced what could be a bounce of the dead cat variety. With two-way trading returning to the natural gas arena, it could be an excellent time to begin trading again. – Seeking Alpha


  • Average peak prices in NYC increased last week, rising $2.10 to $25.60 per MWh.
  • Average peak prices in Central NY’s Zone C decreased, falling $1.60 to $18.54 per MWh.
  • Average peak prices in New Jersey’s PSE&G decreased, falling $10.08 to $9.54 per MWh.
  • Average peak prices in New Jersey’s ACE decreased, falling $9.45 to $10.02 per MWh.
  • Average peak prices in Pennsylvania’s PPL decreased, falling $9.05 to $9.36 per MWh.
  • Average peak prices in Maryland’s BGE decreased, falling $12.46 to $10.37 per MWh.
  • Calendar 2020 prices in NYC decreased $0.28 per MWh, and Zone C prices decreased $0.40 per MWh.
  • Calendar 2020 prices in PSE&G decreased $0.07 per MWh, and ACE prices decreased $0.06 per MWh.
  • Calendar 2020 prices in PPL decreased $0.06 per MWh.

Out Of Thin Air! An interdisciplinary team of scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has harnessed a common bacteria to make surprisingly strong electric currents—pretty much out of thin air – Popular Science


Whoa! Artificial intelligence yields a new antibiotic. A deep-learning model identifies a powerful new drug that can kill many species of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.- MIT