Belfast Telegraph

Wholesale gas in April 34% more costly than last year

By Staff Reporter

Wholesale gas prices in Northern Ireland are over one-third higher than last year in a "significant" hike, according to an energy report out today.

Supplier Vayu said the 34% year-on-year increase came despite a 4% drop in wholesale gas in the last month.

And Vayu said the year-long closure of the UK's largest gas storage facility at Rough off the east coast of England would have a "significant" impact on wholesale gas prices this winter.

Meanwhile, the average wholesale price of electricity in the market in April so far was up 33% on April 2016 and down 2% on last month.

Vayu senior energy analyst Keith Donnelly, said: "The announcement that the Rough storage facility in the UK will close until April 2018 will impact gas wholesale prices for next winter. Research has shown that, when operational, the Rough storage facility reduces the levels of volatility in the market."

But he said prices were returning from an unsustainable low. "The weaker pound over the last 12 months has exacerbated the dramatic increase, particularly in relation to electricity.

"If sterling continues its recent form and strengthens, then Northern Irish businesses would benefit in the form of cheaper electricity."

"Wholesale gas prices are now recovering from a year of 'multi-year price lows' and really what were unsustainable price levels that producers, and the market in general, could not operate at".

Mr Donnelly added: "Prices over the last two months seem to have found a natural floor and the resistance to push lower may be difficult to break."

Vayu supplies natural gas, electricity and renewables to the industrial and commercial market in Ireland and the UK.

Belfast Telegraph