Belfast Telegraph

Oil price 'on rise' as US shuts down hundreds of rigs

By John Mulgrew

A Long decline in wholesale energy prices has finally come to an end, according to the latest report from energy company firmus.

Increases in the price of oil, gas and coal last month brought up the firmus energy index by 13%.

Low wholesale energy prices were primarily fuelled by falling oil prices. But since the cost of a barrel has now witnessed a rise, the trend has reversed. The cost of a barrel rose by around $10 (£6.70) last month, as US oil companies took hundreds of rigs out of production, firmus said.

But it said this upward curve in prices is "likely to be curbed though by sluggish global energy consumption and a glut of oil".

And despite the cutbacks in the shale industry "worldwide output is set to outstrip growth in demand this year".

Last month a number of energy companies - including firmus - dropped their prices following falling wholesale costs.

John French, firmus energy's director of regulation and pricing said: "February was a quieter month weather-wise.

"That meant less production from Irish wind farms.

"Thermal power stations took up the slack but at a cost. Switching on plant for short periods is always expensive.

"That and an increase in the cost of imported gas pushed up the wholesale price of electricity in euro terms.

"Generators were happier, though.

He added: "The average clean spark or gas plant profit rose month-on-month by €3 (£2.20) a MWh."

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