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UK wholesale gas price hits a 12-year high as the Beast from the East rages


Freezing temperatures in Britain continued to send the UK wholesale natural gas price flying today, with gas for immediate delivery climbing to a 12-year high.

Within-day gas prices reached 194p per therm as the so-called "Beast from the East" whipped through the country carrying frigid winds from Siberia, pushing daily gas demand higher, according to Tom Marzec-Manser who heads up the European gas team at commodity price agency ICIS.

Before today's spike, the average within-day price in February was 56p per therm.

The within-day gas price has been further bolstered by an unplanned shutdown at a key Norwegian gas processing plant and technical issues at an import pipeline from the Netherlands.

“It’s been a roller-coaster few days already on the NBP [within-day UK gas contract] with demand moving to levels not seen since 2012, but this morning’s prices have been on another level entirely,” said Marzec-Manser.

He said today's price was "astonishing" in comparison with a string of disruptions in December which sent the price to 99p per therm.

Marzec-Manser said Europe was playing "tug-of-war" over the available gas supplies as cold weather rocked the entire continent and countries tried to outbid one another.

The damage done today will also push up prices for futures contracts, meaning suppliers will end up with a higher bill than they expected.

One supplier, Bulb, was already forced to announce it would hike its prices for customers yesterday due to the spike in wholesale prices this week.

Read more: Snow in London: Met Office extends weather warning to the end of the week

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