Goldman Sachs Group Inc. traders are poised for significant profits from the freeze that roiled energy markets and left swaths of the U.S. without electricity last month. That is, if they can collect.
The bank could stand to gain more than $200 million from the physical sale of power and natural gas and from financial hedges after spot prices surged across much of the U.S., according to people with knowledge of the matter. But those gains may prove elusive given the crisis’s fallout — tipping energy companies into bankruptcy, triggering legal challenges and prompting government intervention.
Such is the uncertainty, that executives at the bank estimate they may realize less than half of their paper gains, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.
“The polar vortex drove volatility in energy markets, and, as a market-maker and liquidity provider, we were positioned to help our clients manage their risks in that challenging environment,” Maeve DuVally, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman, said in a statement.
Bank of America Corp. also gained hundreds of millions of dollars in trading revenue due to the Winter storm, the Financial Times reported Friday. The bank said in a statement that any revenue will be offset by losses and reduced revenues from investments in wind and other alternate power suppliers in Texas, as well as other affected markets.
The unprecedented cold that battered the central U.S. last month led to sweeping blackouts as ice formed on wind turbines and pipelines froze, forcing oil and gas wells to shut. As traders and power suppliers struggled to find fuel to meet obligations, prices skyrocketed. In Oklahoma, gas traded at more than 300 times normal levels, while electricity in Texas surged to $9,000 per megawatt-hour.
The swings benefited companies including Macquarie Group Ltd., the second-biggest physical gas supplier in the U.S. The Sydney-based investment bank raised its profit forecast last month, implying a…