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Arctic Blast Sparks Panic Buying Of Heating Oil In Ireland

Freezing temperatures in an Arctic blast in recent days have created a rush to buy home heating oil in Ireland, where fuel distributors have been forced to restrict supplies, Independent.ie reports.

The price of heating oil, which is used by 1.5 million households for home heating, mostly in rural areas, has jumped this week, according to Oilprices.ie.

Distributors have limited deliveries to 500 liters of fuel (132 gallons) and each household has a 300-liter cap on supply, Eamonn Mulvihill of Oilprices.ie told Independent.

This is the sharpest spike in home heating oil prices in Ireland since the weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

“There is an enormous spike in demand. People had been holding off buying up to now because the price was so high. There is panic buying,” Nicholas Hayes of the UK-Ireland Fuel Distributors’ Association told the Independent.

Most European energy systems were put to their toughest test yet this winter as the Arctic blast with freezing temperatures drove a surge in power and heating demand in the first half of December. The Nordic countries, the UK, and Germany all saw below-average temperatures, with a snowfall in England paralyzing major traffic arteries around London. In Ireland, there have been weather advisories for ice and snow, and households have rushed to buy home heating oil.  

Still, in France, higher nuclear power generation during the weekend helped France avoid a strain on its electricity grid on Monday as demand surged amid freezing temperatures, transmission grid operator RTE said.

Low nuclear power availability has been an issue for the French power system throughout this year, as half of the country’s reactors were offline at one point in the autumn due to repairs or maintenance.

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Last month, RTE said that the French electricity grid is at higher risk of strained power supplies in January 2023 than previously estimated due to lower nuclear power generation. 

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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