Market trembles in UK, causes high gas prices

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Gas prices were about to hit a record high in the UK on Friday, 4 March, as the market prepared itself for the possibility of additional disruption to Russian supplies.

By the early afternoon, the British gas price rose by 104 pence to 454 pence per therm, just off its all-time high of 464 per therm hits in December 2021.

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In the Netherlands also, prices set a new high record, with the Dutch contract up 41.85 euros at a record of 196.35 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh).

This comes as dockworkers in Kent turned away two Russian ships carrying natural gas on Friday, 4 March, as a gesture of sympathy with Ukraine.

The ships were supposed to arrive at the Isle of Grain port on the Thames Estuary in the early hours of Friday morning. Still, they were diverted elsewhere following the protest from workers.

“Both ships now appear to have been away from the Isle of Grain. This will come as a comfort to the workers at the terminal,” said Matt Lay, Unison’s head of energy.

Meanwhile, Oil prices jumped about 3% on Friday as traders weighed expectations for further sanctions on Russia’s energy sector.

This suspicion was barely offset by hopes that envoys are close to reaching a deal with Tehran over its nuclear initiatives, a development that would potentially see Iranian oil, locked off from the world for many years by sanctions, flood back in, helping to reduce supply issues caused by Russia.

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The cost of Brent crude oil and natural gas has rocketed this week as Russia invades Ukraine.

As UK households already worry over huge hikes in bills, with a leap of almost £700 in the energy price cap that was due on 1 April, there have been alerts that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would to add to them more substantially still.

That is because Russia is a significant producer of oil, gas and other essential commodities such as wheat, with spikes in prices feeding via to products and services in the economy as additional cost burdens are passed on.

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