Belfast Telegraph

Six-year low for wholesale gas prices

By Lisa Smyth

Wholesale gas prices have fallen nearly 40% over the past year and are at their lowest in five years, according to a report today.

The research by supplier Vayu Energy said prices were at lows last seen in April 2010.

The firm, which recently announced its expansion into the business market in Northern Ireland, said the price fall is due to an abundant supply of gas in Europe, coupled with weak demand.

Joanne Daly, senior energy analyst at Vayu, said the gas market remains oversupplied this month with strong supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the Middle East expected to continue coming into the summer months.

"An oversupply of gas and weak demand mean Europe's inventory levels are significantly above normal for this time of year," she said.

"This has resulted in a dramatic collapse in wholesale prices."

The average day-ahead price for gas - the contract for gas delivery for tomorrow - is 29.78p/th (pence per therm) so far in March.

This compares with an average price of 47.29p/th in March 2015.

Wholesale gas prices have now fallen 53% compared with the average monthly price for March over the previous three years.

Ms Daly added: "New volumes of LNG this year from the US and Australia and seasonal falls in demand are likely to result in further downward pressure on prices.

"There is therefore limited risk of significant price increases in the near term, barring any unplanned outages."

Ms Daly said that increased wind energy now plays an ever more important role in meeting NI's electricity demand, helping to drive down prices and reduce the country's dependence on more expensive sources of energy.

Belfast Telegraph