Bord Gáis Energy Index drops 4% in January
Mild weather and return of North Sea pipeline prompt wholesale gas price fall
North Sea gas: wholesale prices fell 10 per cent in January. Photograph: Frans Lemmens/Corbis/Getty
The Bord Gáis Energy Index, which tracks wholesale energy prices, fell by 4 per cent in January, the first monthly drop since June 2017. Wholesale gas prices fell 10 per cent, mainly in response to mild weather and the return of full supplies through the key Forties North Sea pipeline. Wholesale electricity prices fell in line with gas prices; coal posted an 8 per cent drop.
Oil prices bucked the trend, continuing their bullish note. Brent crude traded as high as $71 (€57) a barrel in January before finishing the month at $69. “However, oil prices were flat in euro terms, as the weakness of the dollar meant that any gains were negated,” Darragh Crowley, an energy trader with Bord Gáis Energy, said.
Coal prices eased despite expectations that China would import almost 21 million tonnes of the fuel, up from 17 million in December. There were also reports that Japan, Asia’s third-largest coal importer, is also ramping up imports. Despite attempts to phase out coal in Europe on environmental grounds, it still accounts for 40 per cent of energy consumption in emerging markets.