CALGARY, May 28 /CNW/ - Canadian consumers will enjoy lower energy prices
this summer according to Canada's national energy regulator. The National
Energy Board (NEB) released its Summer Outlook today in which it forecasted a
significantly different energy picture from the one released last May.
This time last year energy prices were on the rise, with crude oil
hitting a record high of US $147 per barrel, while natural gas peaked at US
$13/MMBtu in July. However the global economic downturn led to a dramatic drop
in prices over the fall and winter.
The current economic situation, combined with the high inventories of
both oil and natural gas, will continue to put downward pressure on energy
prices heading into summer. The NEB is predicting crude oil to trade in the US
$50 to $60 per barrel range, with natural gas prices to average between US
$3.20 and $4.20/MMBtu over the summer.
"Canadians will find that the price of gas will not go as high as it did
last summer," said NEB Chair Gaétan Caron. "At the same time, however,
companies may respond to the low prices by further cutting production, which
would mean a tighter energy market in the medium to long term."
On the electricity side, new power generation came on-line in several
jurisdictions and transmission capacity was expanded between Ontario and
Quebec and between New Brunswick and the U.S. in 2008. As a result,
electricity supply is projected to be adequate to meet summer demand.
Canadian-American electricity trade volumes reached record levels in the
summer of 2008, and are expected to remain strong this summer. Weaker economic
conditions, however, may mean less demand from the industrial sector in the
U.S. and Canada.
Celebrating 50 years of regulatory leadership, the NEB is an independent
federal agency that regulates several parts of Canada's energy industry. Its
purpose is to promote safety and security, environmental protection, and
efficient energy infrastructure and markets in the Canadian public interest,
within the mandate set by Parliament in the regulation of pipelines, energy
development and trade.
- Summer Energy Outlook
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