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Oil prices stabilising? Energy Prices Update 20/07/2018

Energy prices remained volatile last week, but the market did cool slightly, and fixed energy contract prices fell for businesses. Compared with recent rollercoaster form, oil prices were relatively stable as traders waited for any kind of firm direction. As it was, mixed news and concerns about tariffs spooked buyers and sellers. There was a significant increase in US oil storage levels but a dip in refined fuels, indicating strong demand for petrol. United States oil production exceeded 11 million barrels for the first time ever. But Saudi Arabia calmed fears of a supply glut by tapering back their production. Brent closed the week down 3% at $73.07.

Business energy prices in the UK

Sharp falls in the value of the pound put some upward pressure on prices in the UK. The country was well supplied with gas, with large volumes passing through interconnectors to Europe as planned maintenance of the Nordstream pipeline took place – reducing the flow of gas from Russia into Europe. Another week of low wind generation meant that gas-fired power stations had to pick up the slack – pushing demand higher than usual. Low wind output also caused some upward pressure on electricity prices. Despite this upward pressure on gas and electricity prices, however, all contracts did see slight falls last week. Short term prices eased off slightly, but summer maintenance on gas assets means that these contracts hold onto a premium. Winter 2018 contracts also hold onto a risk premium because of ongoing uncertainty about gas storage levels. Many longer-term fixed contracts are cheaper than one-year contracts. The continued hot weather, low wind output and essential summer maintenance means that there is little chance of a summer dip in pries. But clients who have the time may still wish to wait and see how the market develops before making a decision.

Published by Utility Helpline on (modified )