Firms are urged to go natural
A new guide has been published to help Northern Ireland's firms buy and use natural gas more efficiently.
The document, jointly published by Manufacturing Northern Ireland and the Carbon Trust, estimates that manufacturing companies in Northern Ireland collectively use more than 1,000 gigawatt hours of natural gas every year.
This produces more than 184,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually thought to cost around £30m.
Just over half of all manufacturing companies now have access to the natural gas network.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said energy costs on world markets have been increasing and rising prices have impacted on the competitiveness of Northern Ireland companies.
"It highlights the importance of seeking quotations from a number of energy suppliers and provides helpful information on how to negotiate with them," she said.
Chief executive of Manufacturing NI, Bryan Gray, added that competitive and stable energy costs are a necessity in ensuring the cost base which manufacturing needs to help them compete globally.