Wholesale gas prices rocket as Europe is hit by big freeze
Tuesday 07 February 2012
Plunging temperatures and a supply squeeze sent UK wholesale gas prices soaring to their highest level in nearly six years yesterday, as Europe shivered in the grip of the big freeze.
As a host of European cities endured sub-zero conditions, Italian ministers raised the alarm at a "critical" shortage of gas while the UK also became France's biggest energy supplier for the first time. Germany – usually the biggest exporter of electricity to France – held back generating capacity as the temperature dropped to minus 12C in Berlin.
Russia's move to cut gas exports by 10 per cent last week added to the supply crunch, as the mercury sank to minus 10C in Moscow.
Analysts at gas market intelligence company ICIS Heren said the price of wholesale gas for next-day delivery hit 93p a therm in frenetic trading, the highest since March 2006.
The price spike is all the more significant because the UK has more sources of supply than six years ago, such as major liquified natural gas import terminals at Milford Haven and the Isle of Grain. However, the freeze has also prevented many Russian ships leaving ports with gas supplies.
Rough, the UK's biggest offshore gas storage facility, has been pumping the maximum 45 million cubic metres (cu m) of gas into the UK's network for the past five days. The Centrica-owned facility, 18 miles off the Yorkshire coast, is currently two-thirds full, containing 2.3 billion cu m of natural gas.
Daily demand was forecast at 396.6 million cu m, 68 million cu m above the seasonal norm, according to National Grid data, and 13.4 million cu m short of expected supplies, implying the need for withdrawals from storage.
ICIS Heren's Ed Cox said: "There is an element of panic out there at the moment. People are expecting the price to be 20p lower next week, if this cold spell remains [the high prices] could continue. The cold weather has hit everywhere from Spain all the way to Russia."
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
iJobs Money & Business
£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...
£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...