The weather forecast for the upcoming winter is a little bit of a mixed bag depending upon which forecaster you consult. A weak El Nino condition exists, but if it strengthens, it could alter the resulting winter temperatures more towards the warm side. Some are calling for a milder start to the winter with colder-than-normal weather, if any, for the back half of the winter. All in all, the consensus of the “experts” seems to be near normal temperatures for the winter in total.
As many forecasters predicted, the Midcontinent area (and U.S.) finally had a relatively “normal” winter. The winter seemed very harsh because it followed up two winters that were much warmer than normal. Not willing to give up yet, the winter weather lingers as we move into April.
Late Dec17 and most of Jan18 was a display of weather extremes! The U.S. reached a record daily gas demand on Jan 1st, 2018. During the Dec 22nd to Jan 2nd timeframe, Omaha weather was about 40% colder than normal.
Despite brutally cold temperatures, pipeline constraints, force majeures and widespread interstate pipeline operational flow orders during the recent Dec 29th to Jan 6th timeframe, Encore kept the gas flowing and continued its unblemished streak of never curtailing a customer. Encore Operations personnel were challenged during this period; however, as usual they showed their experience, expertise and dedication navigating through all obstacles put in their way. Of the top-10 coldest days in the U.S. since 2000, January 1st, 2018 ranked as the coldest day on a heating degree day basis. Also, four out of the ten coldest days since the year 2000 nationally have occurred during the recent cold snap.
All in all, it looks like winter 17/18 could be very similar to our previous winter.
Encore is pleased to announce that Kimberly Herzog has joined the Encore team. Kim will initially hold dual roles at Encore. She will divide her time between both Gas Operations and Commercial & Industrial Sales. Kim comes to Encore with substantial sales and marketing experience in the engineering and science fields, having worked at both large and small companies.
Encore’s President and CEO, Ken Graeber, said, “Encore is most fortunate to have the opportunity to hire someone with Kim’s impressive background. Kim’s technical and customer relationship background will serve Encore’s customers’ needs perfectly. I am confident Kim will teach Encore a thing or two about continuing to improve the efficiencies of our internal processes and how we can find ways to serve our customers even better. Kim is a highly dedicated and determined individual and is an outstanding addition to our staff.”
Kim comes to Encore directly from a successful start-up venture where she fulfilled a key leadership role. Kim joined the company in its formative stage as the third overall employee. As the Director of Strategy and Market Development, Kim wore many hats and was tasked with supporting final development of their initial flagship product, creating a go-to-market strategy, implementing numerous systems, growing the team, creating efficient processes, running new business development, and leading the overall product commercialization and market strategy. Kim directly participated and led the team that marketed their new and unique product to many of the largest technically-oriented international companies. Kim earned her BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.
On March 30, 2017, the Encore family suffered a significant loss with the passing of Scott Dahlgren. Our prayers and sympathies go out to his wife Kathy and their children Jake and Erika.
Scott grew up in Blair, Nebraska, graduating from Blair High School. He received a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He worked in the natural gas industry most of his adult life, having worked for Aquila, Cornerstone Energy, Constellation NewEnergy, and most recently Encore Energy.
Scott was a great employee, but more importantly a great friend to the many people he encountered throughout his life. He was the type of person you just enjoyed being around. We will all miss him dearly, especially his zest for life and his memorable laugh.
A memorial service will be held for Scott on April 29, 2017 at 1:00 PM at Woods Chapel United Methodist Church located at 4725 NE Lakewood Way, Lee’s Summit, MO 64064. A celebration of life will begin after the service at Johnny’s Tavern located at 1660 SE Blue Parkway, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063.
May Scott rest in eternal peace.
For the second straight year, much of the country was treated to a warmer-than-normal winter. While most forecasts last fall predicted a “normal” winter, it turned out to be warm like the prior winter. For example, Omaha was 16.5% warmer than normal this winter and the prior winter was 17.5% warmer than normal. Most of the Midcontinent was in the 12% to 20% below normal range for the Nov 2016 - March 2017 winter period. The chart below summarizes the heating degree day information for various locations across the Midcontinent.
Natural gas futures contracts started trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) back in early 1990. Since that time, there have been many significant events that have affected the market dynamics. The following graph is a timeline noting many of those significant events.
Winter 2016/2017 Weather Outlook
In late October, forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said that the La Nina is expected to influence winter conditions this year. La Nina typically favors drier, warmer winters in the southern U.S. and wetter, cooler conditions in the northern U.S. If La Nina conditions materialize, forecasters say it should be weak and potentially short-lived. Thus far this heating season, cold weather has failed to materialize. October was much warmer than normal across much of the country and November has also started out very mild.
Summer 2016 Weather Outlook
As we wind down this winter, you may recall that it was marked by significant El Niño conditions. This current El Niño is only the third unusually large version since 1950 and the first since 1997/98. The prior two strong El Nino winters were immediately followed by its counterpart, called a La Niña. A La Niña often, though not always, follows an El Niño. La Niña conditions tend to produce hot, dry summers in some parts of the U.S. It also typically causes mostly the opposite effects of El Niño such as above-average precipitation across the northern Midwest, the northern Rockies, Northern California, and the Pacific Northwest's southern and eastern regions. Meanwhile, precipitation in the southwestern and southeastern states is below average. This also allows for the development of many stronger-than-average hurricanes in the Atlantic and less in the Pacific.
Ken Graeber, Encore Energy Services’ President and CEO, is pleased to announce that Eric Todd has joined our team as Sales and Business Development Manager for our recently opened Minneapolis office. Local support for our Encore customers is very important. Eric has 12 years of experience providing energy management and consulting for supply and demand side applications in all types of industrial facilities and utility companies. Eric also has 17 years of direct experience in engineering process control systems for industrial plants, gas transmission, gas distribution, gas storage and power generating facilities. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and is a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) by the Association of Energy Engineers. Eric brings his multifaceted experience to the Encore team and will focus his considerable talent on customers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, northern Iowa and northeast Nebraska. Eric is a quality addition to our team.
Through Encore you can ensure that your business will receive competitively priced natural gas, extraordinary customer service, a focus on price risk management and customized energy services that fit the specific needs of your business. Eric welcomes the opportunity to discuss natural gas supply and related energy services. Eric may be reached by phone at (763) 274-9709 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Outlook V-Card
Mike Squires has joined the Encore Energy staff as a Sales Manager based out of the Kansas City area. Encore’s President and CEO, Ken Graeber, expressed great enthusiasm for Encore’s latest addition, noting that Mike has been recognized both regionally and nationally for many years as one of the top energy sales executives. Ken continued, “Mike knows the energy business inside and out and is widely recognized as a true customer advocate who always finds the best energy solution for each of his customers. Encore is extremely fortunate to have Mike on our team.”
Mr. Squires brings over 24 years of direct energy sales and sales management experience to Encore and has served every possible size and type of customer. Mike has extensive expertise in creative pricing alternatives, commodity trading and risk management. He has significant operational knowledge of numerous utilities and pipelines. After Wichita State University, Mike began his energy career in the mid-continent helping commercial and industrial customers navigate through the new era of deregulation. In recent years, Mike has provided gas, power and renewable offerings to customers on both a regional and national level. Mike leverages his extensive knowledge and customer focus to develop sound long term strategies for all of his customers. Mike would welcome the opportunity to discuss how he might help you with your energy needs and may be reached at 816-444-4327 or email@example.com - Outlook V-Card
Encore has experienced dramatic and sustained growth over the last five years. As a result, we have outgrown our Omaha office. Encore has recently secured a new office location that will allow for even better internal communications and afford significant additional growth potential well into the foreseeable future.
Please note that our new Omaha-area address is: 12120 Port Grace Blvd., La Vista, NE 68128. Other than our Omaha-area address changing, everything else remains as before…same phone numbers, same email addresses and the same great people here to happily assist you with your energy needs.
Winter 2015/16 - El Niño
A strong El Niño condition is brewing in the tropical Pacific and that’s the big weather story heading into the winter of 2015/16! The current El Niño weather phenomenon is expected to peak between October and January an dcould turn into one of the strongest on record.
Before we address this coming winter, here are a few highlights of natural gas market events thus far this year:
Regarding this winter - in the end, the principal driver in the natural gas market each winter is weather. Most weather experts are pointing to the strong El Nino conditions that currently exist, which often leads to a milder winter. The strongest El Nino in recent history was in 1996/97 and many are predicting a stronger El Nino presence this winter. Many current forecasts point towards normal to warmer-than-normal conditions for the northern portion of the country. Forecasts are cooler for the south and southeast. El Nino could also provide some needed higher-than-normal precipitation on the southern West Coast and in the Southwest. Given the ample production and gas storage, the country looks to be in pretty good shape heading into winter. Given these factors, one would conclude that gas price volatility will be non-existent this winter; however, a good risk management strategy should always be in place to put guardrails on the roadway.
If the winter of 2013/14 in the Mid-continent was a “10” in terms of a challenge, then this most recent winter was about a “5”. After the hurdles of winter 2013/14, this was a cakewalk. Below is brief summary of the winter:
Like all previous winters, Encore Energy still takes great pride in the fact that we protect customers from penalties and punitive monthly cashouts. We can still tout the fact that Encore has not charged any penalties to customers nor have we ever interrupted flow at any time.
Ken Graeber, Encore’s founder, President and CEO, announced today Encore’s intention to expand its operating territory and reach. “Encore has truly been blessed with solid growth since its inception. We are so fortunate to already have such a fine customer base. A good percentage of our growth has been by our current customers asking us to serve their other locations and recommending Encore to others. To date, we have taken a careful and measured approach to our growth plans to ensure we continue to provide the same quality of product to all of our customers wherever they may be located. Providing a best-in-class customer experience is in our DNA and Encore will never jeopardize that tenet. Having said that, I believe now is an ideal time to take a slightly more proactive approach to Encore’s growth and see if we can’t fill in a few holes in our current customers’ service territories and bring the Encore brand to new markets. Today I am pleased to announce Encore intends to actively solicit direct sales personnel for selected markets where Encore already has assets or access to competitively-priced assets. Finding and recruiting highly qualified sales people that have the 'customer first' and 'can do' attitude is our first critical task. Encore will not operate in any market without the right mix of people and assets. Any markets we choose to pursue will have been fully evaluated to confirm our ability to provide Encore-quality service and support in an efficient and competitively-priced manner. We will not compromise the Encore brand or our integrity until we find the best fit for each market."
More specific information on potential positions may be found on the Career Opportunities tab.
Ken Graeber, Encore Energy Services’ President and CEO, announced today that Bryan Rizuto has been hired as a Customer Care Manager for Colorado. Mr. Graeber offered, “Bryan Rizuto brings a wealth of enthusiasm and experience to Encore and we feel very fortunate to secure the services of such a high quality well-rounded salesperson. Bryan brings with him an impressive background in the industry and understands what transport customers are looking for when they choose a natural gas supplier. Our current and future customers will benefit from Bryan’s expertise as he introduces new products and services to the Colorado marketplace.”
Bryan Rizuto has 25 years of direct sales experience with the last 7 years in the competitive Colorado natural gas arena. Mr. Rizuto is highly regarded in the industry and has distinguished himself with his “customer-first” attitude and always finding the best answer for each customer, even if it wasn’t his product. Besides significant commercial and industrial customer sales experience, Bryan has an extensive well-head, trading, risk management and customer support background that provides him with unique capabilities in finding the best solutions for the individual needs of his customers. Bryan brings an infectious positive attitude and tireless work ethic to bear on behalf of each of his customers. Bryan has called the Front Range home for nearly all of his life and will live and work out of Centennial, Colorado.
Bryan Rizuto is the latest addition to Encore’s growing team of energy professionals. Encore Energy Services, Inc. provides retail natural gas sales and related services to commercial and industrial customers in 12 mid-continental states stretching from the Rockies to the Great Lakes. Encore is one of the fastest growing companies in today’s competitive energy market and specializes in growing its reputation and customer base one customer at a time through efficient competitive pricing, friendly outstanding service, and superior risk management strategies.
For more information on Encore's products and services, Bryan may be reached at:
It was a brutal winter across the country with cold temperatures and heavy snowfall blanketing much of the Midwest and Northeast and even into the Southeast. Each and every month this winter was colder than normal in the Midcontinent which is quite unusual. While there are a long list of fundamental and technical factors that drive the price of natural gas over the long haul, this past winter was a fierce reminder that the fundamental factor of weather can be the primary driving force in the end.
Gas suppliers need to pay a great degree of attention to the details each and every day in order to keep gas flowing and protect customers from out of tolerance penalties. It is a challenging task even during a normal winter, but was especially difficult this winter. Winters like this separate the excellent suppliers from the marginal ones and the long term players from the not so long. Encore Energy takes great pride in the fact that we protect customers from penalties and punitive monthly cashouts. Despite operational challenges due to extreme and frequent cold snaps, Encore did not charge any penalties to customers nor did we interrupt flow at any time. Can your supplier make the same statement?
If you are not a customer of Encore and are concerned about how your supplier met the challenge this winter, please consider giving us a look.