Why Are Gas Prices So High?

Gas is now approximately four times more expensive than it was in January.
Prices of gas per therm
Prices of gas per therm
PA Graphics/Press Association Images

Gas prices have shot up in the UK to around four times their value back in January.

According to data from the Institution of Civil Engineers, it was 45.8p per therm back in January – it’s now 181p per therm.

Why have gas prices jumped?

A squeeze on gas and energy supplies around the world after last year’s cold winter is now having a knock-on effect.

Prices have jumped by 70% since August alone in the UK.

Struggles with the National Grid – including a fire at a key import cable which cut off an electricity supply source – has also increased the country’s dependence on gas power plants.

Gas markets have crippled the carbon dioxide supply chain as well.

The UK only has enough backup gas for four to five days of winter, which will drive up prices – one million extra British households could be in fuel poverty next year.

Natural gas prices are soaring
Natural gas prices are soaring
Leon Neal via Getty Images

Could gas prices stay high?

Fuel prices are expected to remain high for at least the coming months.

Meteorologists have predicted a higher than usual risk of cold winter weather – meaning gas market prices could remain high until 2023.

US forecaster DTN said February in particular is currently flagged to be the “coldest of the three winter months”.

Will the rest of Europe be affected?

The UK’s European neighbours will be impacted by similar concerns and weather, but many nations have a backup supply – unlike Britain – which will protect them from the hit to the market.

HSBC analyst Kim Fustier said an exceptionally cold winter could push UK storage levels to “dangerously low levels”.

She added: “The UK’s situation is more precarious than its European neighbours because of its very limited storage capacity.”