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Heating Oil Futures up on the back of Hurricane Sandy

U.S. heating oil futures slid on Tuesday Oct 30th, after several days of gains where traders built in a risk premium in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. The pre Hurricane Sandy gains were wiped out as several key East Coast refineries and pipelines restored operations and traders bet that the demand for fuel would be suppressed in the short term.

However, on the flip side and looking to the medium term, US heating oil supply is at historically low levels with some pundits are predicting that the low levels of supply will exert upward pressures on heating oil prices, especially as the temperatures drop.

Price of Oil Drops to Less Than $86 per Barrel as Hurricane Sandy Hits the East Coast of US

Oil prices decreased to under $86 per barrel yesterday as Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in the US. This area is densely populated and due to the chaos that the storm will bring, energy consumption was predicted to fall as businesses and organisations closed and transport services were shut down.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, electronic trading put the price of a barrel of oil from $86.28 a barrel to $85.88 a barrel, a reduction of 40 cents. As crude oil prices fluctuate depending on market demand and supply, an external factor such as severe weather conditions can influence the price of crude oil. There are forecasts that Hurricane Sandy will cause flooding as well as power failures. Therefore, demand for oil as a source of fuel will fall which will lower the price of oil. There are a number of oil refineries that may be affected by Hurricane Sandy, but America has a good supply of oil in general.

The storm is expected to go through New York City which will have an enormous impact on residents, businesses and transport services. People have already been told to evacuate the city to avoid the devastation that the hurricane will bring. Airports in the city have also cancelled thousands of flights that had been scheduled for today. Trading floors at the New York Stock Exchange and the New York Mercantile Exchange were closed yesterday. Electronic trading was open but was shut earlier than usual.

Brent crude was priced at $109.27 a barrel yesterday, a decrease in price by 29 cents. The stock market performance in Asia and Europe were lower yesterday which may have attributed to the change in prices of oil. However, the price of heating oil in the futures market in New York increased by 1.52 cents to $3.0916 a gallon yesterday.

You can find the latest fuel prices, including heating oil prices, listed on the Find a Fuel Supplier website.

How to get cheap heating oil

How to get cheap heating oil
As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, the attentions of the 1.5 million British heating oil users turn to stocking up for winter. But with prices already reaching record levels this year, sourcing and buying cheap heating oil is becoming a more painful process.

Here, we offer advice on how to get cheap heating oil and ensure that you stay warm this winter without paying over the odds.

Buy your heating oil early

When the weather’s warm, the flowers are out and the kids off school, the last thing on your mind is stocking up on heating oil. However this is possibly the best time of year to buy heating oil. This is due to the age old economic model of supply and demand.

When the demand for heating oil is low, so is its price and vice versa. The demand for heating oil is at its greatest during the cold, winter months and this is when you’ll pay most. Therefore, buying between June and August is historically the best time of year to get the cheapest prices from heating oil suppliers.

Buying during the winter months can also make the delivery of fuel difficult, with order backlogs and weather preventing orders from being fulfilled quickly. Consumer Focus has released some advice for British consumers this year in anticipation of another busy winter for fuel orders and warned that: “In the severe weather experienced in November and December 2010 many of the oil distribution companies saw significant increases in orders, resulting in delivery backlogs, particularly in remote and rural areas where roads were disrupted by snow and ice.”

However when buying during the warmer months, it’s important to make sure that your heating oil tank has been serviced first. An efficient heating oil tank will save you money in the long-term so it’s worth any outlay for its maintenance.

Buy heating oil in bulk

In order to get a cheap heating oil prices from suppliers, buying in bulk is likely to be your best bet. The smallest quantity that you can buy from most suppliers is 500 litres, primarily because of the associated costs of delivering the fuel to you. This means that if you’re buying at these levels, you’ll be paying the highest delivery costs.

If you purchase over 1,000 litres in one order you’ll begin saving and bringing that all important price per litre down. When phoning a fuel supplier to book in your order, it’s worth asking them at what level the price begins to drop. If the price drops by one pence between 500 and 2,000 litres, you’ll save yourself £20 on your order.

Compare prices of heating oil

As a commodity, the price of heating oil isn’t fixed and so will vary from supplier to supplier. Heating oil prices change depending on a number of factors, including the cost of a barrel of oil, the weather and of course demand. Therefore, sticking with the company you used last isn’t the smartest way to get cheap heating oil.

Ringing around various suppliers will give you a better idea of the market and enable you to find your cheapest price. However ringing around to find your cheapest heating oil supplier can be a pain, and where do you start? The answer lies in fuel comparison websites.

There are a number of websites that will offer the comparison of various fuels, like heating oil, kerosene and boiler juice and there are a number of subtle differences between them. Some are owned by large fuel suppliers, listing prices from companies that they own. Others earn their money from taking a cut of each sale made from their site. This means that they aren’t truly independent and not necessarily set up with consumers in mind.

However there is one fuel comparison website that is different.

FindAFuelSupplier.co.uk prides itself on its independent listings of fuel suppliers and their prices. It doesn’t take a cut of any sale made and has no links to any fuel supplier, making it the savvy consumers choice when comparing fuel prices.

Signing up Heating Oil Suppliers

Cheapest heating oil suppliersIn today’s post I thought I’d bring you up to speed on what is happening here at Find a Fuel Supplier. As you will have noticed when looking around the site, Find a Fuel Supplier aims to offer something quite different to the fuel buying market.

Instead of taking a commission from fuel suppliers on any sale made, we aim to remain completely independent to the transaction and can therefore offer complete transparency on any deal. Many of the other fuel comparison sites take a cut on any transaction made and we think this blurs the line between acting in the consumer’s best interests and helping suppliers offer the very best deals for buyers out there.

In essence, FAFS is a marketplace where suppliers can post their best prices as often as they like, and where consumers can search for different volumes, of different fuels, in different parts of the country.

So, what stage are we at? FAFS is currently actively engaged in signing up new suppliers to the site. It’s completely free to list your prices here right now. The comparison engine is complete (adding new functionality daily) and we’ll soon be rolling out exciting new stuff!

 

If you are a supplier, or know a supplier who would benefit from being on the site and reaching oodles of customers – please email James@FindaFuelSupplier.co.uk and we’ll get things sorted out pronto!

Protect Your Heating Supplies To Evade a Hefty Fine

Across the UK many heating oil consumers are being warned by their local council that they need to protect their heating oil supply from spilling out into the environment to evade a hefty fine.

In Yorkshire, recently, it was found that a heating oil supplier had delivered fuel to a tank located next a school, soon after the tanker driver left oil was found to be leaking from the outflow pipe of the tank and into the watercourse.

The fuel then dispersed via drains and riffles in the water body, the pollution from this source was visible up to 10 miles away.

An investigation was carried out and it soon became apparent that the tank that was leaking was from the school whom were storing fuel in preparation for the approaching Winter period. The heating oil was going to be used to power the central heating.

As a result on the 21st September 2012 a court hearing took place which saw the Environment Agency (EA) fine East Riding of Yorkshire Council £18000 for polluting the inland fresh waters.

Tracey Thompson, who is an Environmental Office for the agency, stated that she is overwhelmed that this issue has now been addressed as the impact of the spillage could have had a detrimental long term impact on the wildlife relying on the watercourse.

She followed on by stating that this should be an example to businesses and why they should take their environmental responsibilities more seriously.

As a result of the spillage the council is now surveying all of its heating oil storage tanks to make sure they are not leaking or posing any environmental threats.

As well as local councils, it is also important for homeowners who have stocks of heating oil stored away in preparation for winter to be vigilant about spillages on to the surrounding land.

David Hutchinson a spokesman for the agency’s environment management team said it makes complete sense for households to come together and negotiate better heating oil prices but we don’t recommend people ordering more heating oil than they can store in a safe manner.

Author: David Khan

Theft of Heating Oil

It’s not all that often that stories from across the pond reach the desk of Find a Fuel Supplier Towers but this story caught our eye as it could easily happen here.

A man in Long Island, USA, was caught stealing heating oil from the tanks of repossessed / foreclosed homes in the little hamlet of Mastic in Suffolk County.

Robert Bailey had kitted out a truck with what amounted to a siphoning system and was breaking into the tanks of the empty homes and relieving them of their oil. When police officers opened the back of his truck, his mobile tank contained 1200 US Gallons of heating oil (that’s 4,500 litres!)

He was caught when a local town employee got suspicious whilst talking to him outside one of the target properties. The town has filed charges including the illegal transportation of oil and not having the requisite hazmat signs. It’s unclear whether he’ll face theft charges.

We raise this particular case to remind readers to secure their oil tanks as best they can and to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. We live in tough economic times and stealing a thousand litres of heating oil is a big prize for criminals although how they would plan to sell their ill-gotten gains is another matter!

Peat Harvest and Impact on Supply

Last month, Bord na Món, the semi-state company responsible for the harvesting of peat in Ireland reported that the country was witness to the worst peat harvest returns in 65 years. The reason? The 2.5 times average rainfall between July and August that contributed to a loss of 2.5million tonnes of peat, and a harvest of just 37% of what was expected.

The harvest (or lack thereof) is not expected to significantly impact upon the price of peat briquettes, as stock levels are high, and customer demand is expected to be met. In a statement, the company wrote that: “notwithstanding the difficulties presented by the weather, Bord na Móna is in a position to confirm it has taken steps to ensure it has adequate stocks of peat to supply its customers”.

Consumer Watchdog advises consumers to buy Heating Oil early.

The UK consumer group “Consumer Focus” has recently advised how leaving heating oil orders to the last minute during the winter risked longer delivery times and higher prices.

It was quoted in the Daily Telegraph as saying: “In the severe weather experienced in November and December 2010 many of the oil distribution companies saw significant increases in orders, resulting in delivery backlogs, particularly in remote and rural areas where roads were disrupted by snow and ice.”

William Baker, the head of fuel poverty at Consumer Focus, went on to add: “People living off the mains gas network often face considerable difficulty in keeping their homes warm. In recent years we have seen big spikes in the cost of heating oil during the winter months, which can have a major effect on household budgets.

“With this in mind, our message is buy oil as early as possible, and get a better deal by bulk buying with neighbours if possible. Consumers should also look to cut bills by making their home as energy-efficient as they can and ensure they are claiming all of the benefits and grants they may be entitled to.”