UK gas prices fire 146% higher as cold snap hits

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The big freeze gripping the UK contributed to a 146% leap in the cost of wholesale natural gas on Wednesday morning, according to industry figures.

They showed that gas for immediate delivery hit 10-year highs at 90p per therm.

An outage at a Norwegian gas processing plant also influenced the jump in costs as it hit exports to UK gas terminals.

The UK’s gas imports are dependent on Norway and even Qatar

Demand for gas has surged to levels not seen since 2013 as freezing winds from Siberia have descended on the country – bringing heavy snow to many parts, particularly counties closest to the east coast.

:: LIVE: Parts of UK prepare for highest weather alert

A car travels through snow in Ashford, Kent, which has caused disruption across Britain
A car travels through snow in Ashford, Kent

Prices this winter had already been forced up by a string of supply disruptions, with a lack of sufficient storage facilities placing even greater pressure on imports via pipeline as UK North Sea operations continue to dwindle.

Experts say the squeeze on storage has made the country vulnerable to upward market price movements – raising the prospect of energy suppliers having to account for higher costs through increases to their own prices.

The UK currently has over 65 household energy firms, with smaller companies particularly under pressure to raise prices in the past few months as they lack the market dominance and generation capabilities of many of the so-called ‘big six’.

They have also been grappling hikes to wholesale electricity costs.

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