Home heating oil prices could be set to fall across Northern Ireland as global oil prices stabilise, a fuel provider has predicted.
Heating oil has become significantly more expensive in recent months with 500 liters of oil rising by £ 227 in just one week, according to the latest NI Consumer Council figures.
However, with global oil prices now falling to under $ 100 per barrel having hit more than $ 127 a matter of weeks ago, one fuel business in Co Fermanagh says it expects those prices to be reflected to consumers here in a matter of days.
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Garry Jennings from Jennings Fuels and Lubricants in the village of Kesh says while diesel prices are unlikely to see any major drops soon, cheaper home heating oil prices should be seen sooner rather than later.
“Fuel prices have stabilized and kerosene (heating oil) prices have dropped severely this last seven days,” Garry told Belfast Live.
“Prices are well down but it’s just taking a wee bit of time to just filter through as everybody is sitting with all the dear stuff now and waiting for it to clear up.
“For next week we are talking about it going down about 30p per liter, which is good because it had doubled in price there.
“If the markets keep tumbling like this it should get down to where it was.
“Supply and demand is a big thing and we’ve been urging people not to panic buy.”
However, a spokesperson for the Consumer Council said despite wholesale oil prices dropping, consumers should expect prices to remain high.
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Peter McClenaghan, Director of Infrastructure and Sustainability at the Conumer Council said: “Global wholesale prices have dropped over 20% from a week ago, however, consumers should expect prices to remain high for some time.
“We have been tracking local oil prices charged to consumers on a daily basis and pleasingly there had been some price reduction in the past week, albeit small.
“Northern Ireland is at the mercy of the global markets because we import nearly all of our heating oil supplies, meaning consumers here are at risk when global prices fluctuate as our local suppliers are unable to influence these prices and the costs are passed on to consumers .
“The Consumer Council will continue to engage with the Northern Ireland Oil Federation to ask that when wholesale prices decrease that this is passed on to consumers as soon as possible.”
Garry added that criticism of local fuel suppliers was unfair, saying that they are doing a service to the local community during a difficult time.
He added: “We are getting slated all the time but we are just trying to do our best.
“Yes we are a company that’s making money but it’s about keeping the community going because if we have no heating oil or diesel for the farmers then we can’t keep things going.
“It will stabilise, I think the future is just to be wary of it. Diesel and gas oil used by farmers around here is going to be tight for the next few months.
“Heating oil is more or less the same quality as what planes use, so there is plenty of it around.
“But diesel or red diesel is a different story all over the world at the minute, so it’s going to be harder to get with avoiding buying from Russia.”
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