Recent weather related events in the Gulf have exposed a serious problem with energy sources. Gasoline is an issue for the news media to deal with in their reporting. What is lacking is real information for facilities such as you operate.

Natural gas, number 2 oil, propane and electricity will now operate at price levels much higher than the past year or so. A combination of no real exploration, increasing demands, air quality issues, environmental regulations, and no real expansions in production facilities are all factors contributing to a long term problem with no real typical quick fixes possible.
Natural gas tends to be an energy source of choice since it best meets the needs of many plants and offers the best solution to all the environmental regulations. All the industry forecast we review point to costs and lack of availability during cold weather periods. Currently natural gas prices are in the .00/14.00 range per MBTU (one million BTUs) and reflect a price increase of about 150% since August 2005.
Number 2 oil follows diesel fuel (less road taxes) and is currently in the .50 per gallon range. It takes 7.29 gallons of oil to equal 1 MBTU for a cost of .23 per MBTU. Availability may be an issue as demand for diesel and heating oil rise over the coming months.
Propane prices are currently in the .35 range per gallon. It takes 10.93 gallons of propane to equal one MBTU. At current costs propane is .76 per MBTU. About 9% of propane comes from refineries and 91% from stripping natural gas. Availability will be subject to winter demands.
Electricity is currently in the $.06 per Kwh range for larger users. At 293.1 KW per 1 MBTU, cost for electrical energy is .59 per MBTU. Availability should not be a problem but costs may rise by quite a bit over the coming months.
We would like to offer some suggestions to consider if you believe as we do that availability and prices are not going to return to the good old days of earlier this year.
Reduce consumption where possible. If you operate a steam, compressed air, or vacuum system in your facility, real savings are possible and pay back periods can range as low as two weeks for leaks, defective valves, and related issues. We can provide comprehensive real world energy reviews of your facility at very reasonable costs with an equipment rebate option. Call for details.
Increase your ability to switch fuel now. You should consider being able to operate with at least natural gas and propane along with number 2 oil and electric options where it makes sense in your plant. If you operate steam boilers and they are critical to plant operations, the issue is very important so your plant production is not curtailed.
Increase on site alternate fuel storage for a backup of 3-7 days to much higher capacities to allow you to purchase and store alternate fuels when they are less costly which is usually in warm weather months. We can provide complete propane and number 2 oil facilties.
If you are highly dependent on natural gas, consider installing a propane air mix unit for your facility. We can provide all the engineering along with a complete turn key installation. Call for details.
In our opinion, cheap energy and availability may no longer be part of your business options. Please call if we can be of help in your planning and evaluation process.