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Thread: I'm Dreamin of a White Christmas

  1. #1
    Daisyspop's Avatar
    Daisyspop is offline Senior Member
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    Jul 2005

    Default I'm Dreamin of a White Christmas

    Wednesday November 23, 05:15 PM

    LONDON (Reuters) - British gas has become the world's most expensive fuel as the country fast runs out of North Sea supplies, forcing industry to cut output and leaving homeowners facing much higher bills.
    "There is a great deal of nervousness about whether we can get through winter without any supply cuts for customers," analyst Niall Trimble of the Energy Contract Company.
    January gas prices closed at a record 1.17 pounds a therm on Tuesday as freezing weather
    stoked fears of a gas crunch. That makes the contract more than $50 a barrel higher than U.S. gas in oil equivalent terms and 10 times the price of European coal futures, analysts at Barclays Capital said.
    To cut costs, industrial users and power stations in Europe's biggest gas consumer have turned down the taps while domestic consumers, whose bills have climbed by up to 40 percent over the last two years, anticipate fresh price hikes.
    "Suppliers have already put up prices and down the track they may well need to look at putting them up again," said a spokeswoman for energy watchdog Energywatch.
    "They have indicated the pain is not over," she added.
    Consumers used to enjoy among the lowest gas prices in the European Union, but costs have risen as oil prices surged and the once self-sufficient UK became more reliant on imported gas.
    Customers of the country's largest supplier British Gas, part of Centrica, are paying an average 484 pounds a year, up from 435 pounds in 2004.
    Import dependence has grown steadily since production from its ageing North Sea fields started to decline five years ago.
    Its reliance deepened this year as output fell more sharply than expected, leaving a supply gap as many import projects are still under construction.
    Most imports are routed through an expanded subsea pipeline with Belgium and a port at the Isle of Grain near London that receives tankers loaded with liquefied natural gas.
    More import projects are being built, but most will only come on stream in 2006 and 2007, leaving the country vulnerable to gas shortages if there is very harsh weather this winter.
    Adding fuel to the fire, the country is facing stiff competition for supplies. So far only three liquid natural gas cargoes have arrived at Grain since it opened in July. A shipment from Algeria is expected this week.
    "This isn't surprising as there is not a lot of spare LNG about. What there is, is going to the United States or Korea," said analyst Patrick Heren.
    There have also been problems importing from Europe, where the markets are controlled by dominant former monopolies. The pipeline to Belgium has often been half-empty despite rocketing prices.
    Britain has called for more reforms of the European energy market to bring down prices and give new suppliers greater access to EU pipeline networks which are owned by large utilities.

  2. #2
    MotherBear's Avatar
    MotherBear is offline The missing link
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    Default I'm Dreamin of a White Christmas

    Very worrying and just another reason for leaving the UK. This is a problem facing other countries as well, as the oil reserves are dwindling. There needs to be a big push towards finding another source of heat/power and quickly. It won't last forever.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

  3. #3
    Taffy's Avatar
    Taffy is offline He who shall be ignored
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    Default I'm Dreamin of a White Christmas

    The problem is the sheer greed of the companies who control these resources. The technology to replace the need for natural gas and oil has been around for many years, but will never see the light of day for fear of the wrath of oil companies and certain governments.

    Hydrogen is already well established as a replacement for all of these things, and is made very simply from water (I was nerdy enough to make it myself!).

    The big oil companies wont allow this to happen until the world is at an oil crisis, so they can then swing in with hydrogen at severely inflated prices to be the saviours and profit big time.

    The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.

  4. #4
    Jodie's Avatar
    Jodie is offline Senior Member
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    Tauranga (since May 2007) - Wellington for 3 years before that!

    Default I'm Dreamin of a White Christmas

    We're thinking of getting a solar panel put in at the new house - with as much sun as we get here (even in the winetr) - might as well make the most of it and help cut our power bills at the same time! :icon_cool:

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