Canada expects high winter energy prices

Nov. 15, 2012 at 7:38 AM
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CALGARY, Alberta, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- A Canadian energy regulator said though this year's winter season should be normal, energy prices may escalate during a lackluster economy.

Global economic concerns have been strained by the ongoing debt crisis in the eurozone and the so-called fiscal cliff, a set of expiring tax cuts in the United States.

The National Energy Board in Canada said forecasts predict a normal winter and energy supplies are "abundant," though energy prices are expected to increase for consumers.

Demand for natural gas for U.S. power generation capacity is expected to increase, meaning the balance between supply and demand could be narrow.

"However, this winter's record storage volumes could place downward pressure on natural gas prices," the NEB said in a statement.

Heating oil prices could follow natural gas. The NEB said refinery outages in the region meant supplies were lower than at any time in five years. There too, the regulator said relief may come from milder temperatures expected on the country's eastern coast.

In terms of gasoline, the regulator said Canadian commuters can expect to pay slightly more than the national average of around $4.90 per gallon of regular unleaded gasoline because of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, a late October storm that closed U.S. East Coast refineries.

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