Gas prices rise sharply due to shortages after Hurricane Harvey
Gas prices have risen sharply in Northern Ireland due to fuel shortages following Hurricane Harvey, experts have warned.
Wholesale gas prices were 39% higher in August of this year compared to the same period in August 2016, according to market research.
In the last six weeks alone, a 10% price increase has occurred. The high prices are expected to remain in place during the autumn-winter period.
It is thought the price spike is due in part to fuel shortages caused by Hurricane Harvey, which has caused havoc in the US.
The natural disaster hit Texas last week, prompting flooding and mass evacuations across the state as up to 50 inches of rain fell in some areas.
Oil production and refining facilities in the Gulf Coast region of the US have been closed as a precautionary measure, equating to 15% of refining capacity in the country.
These shortages have meant that demand has exceeded supply, prompting a price surge internationally.
The Vayu Energy Report also suggests the price jump has been due to fuel shortages caused by production problems in Norway's gas supplies, as well as the weaker value of sterling. The high prices are expected to continue this winter.
The average price for gas in Northern Ireland is 42.38p/th up from 30.5p/th.
Keith Donnelly, senior energy analyst for Vayu, said: "We are anticipating considerable energy price volatility for gas customers in Northern Ireland this winter, which could be worrying for businesses at this time when energy use is at its highest.
"If Northern Irish businesses enter this period without some hedge against the risk of rising prices, the volatility could lead to significant price shocks."