Natural Gas Futures

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I'm not sure that Russia is a communist country anymore. In fact, I seem to remember that many of the shady oligarchs made their money from the privatisation of utilities.

It's not, and that's my point: It was, or claimed that it was, but the system became corrupted through the back door in exactly the manner that you have described. So even, so called communism isn't what it once was.

I doubt also, if Xi Jinping is short of a bob or two, even if some of his supporters are dying on their knees in paddy fields.

Just to add to the debate. I exclusively trade 'crude oil' for a living, and suggest you look here:-
This gives Global pricing for 'petrol', and as you can see gives a huge range by country of cost/Ltr. Many global factors at play......

Appreciate the OP focussed on 'gas futures", but suggest futures are (extremely) limited in determining (future) cost, in play are a range of variables, not least geo/political impacts.
My principal concern is the quality and cost of the services provided - either to me personally or society as a whole. There are a few constraints on this simplistic statement:
  • I expect that staff employed by the provider are treated with respect and fairly rewarded
  • for a limited range of services there may be a strategic concern - eg: self sufficiency in energy, or retention of a critical skill base - eg: NHS
That rail, water etc companies are owned by overseas companies does not concern me. Their assets and staff are physically UK based, and subject to regulation (which does leave something to be desired!)

The private sector may be able to provide a better quality, more responsive, and more efficient service whilst also making a profit and paying dividends to shareholders. These talents are far from the sole preserve of the public sector - indeed they are frequently lacking.

Privatisation during the 1980s initially exposed huge inefficiencies in the public sector. They tended to be bureaucratic, overstaffed, risk averse (not always bad), unresponsive. It is evident that in some cases structures set up 30-40 years ago may now need fixing - railways being an obvious example.

However the solution is not renationalisation - if government cannot effectively regulate a privatised industry I suspect there is little chance they could run one any better.

Yes, but in the case of the railways its not the "private sector". Its foreign owned state industry.

Which to the casual British observer looks like private industry but is it fact a nationalised one.

70% of our railways are run by other countries nationalised providers.

What is that telling us? That private rail is better? Clearly it is not if nationalised industry has competitively won 70% of our market.

Some things are just natural monopolies and that's the way it is.

Some things just don't make sense to be split up & privatised because the network costs of doing so negate any benefit you might get from improved efficiency (which benefit I might add, as a customer, you will lose to the companies shareholders as their profit).

Its not mechanically possible to split up a nationalised railway AND make it more efficient AND provide a better service at a lower price because you have additional overhead from having split it up PLUS you need to pay the shareholders.

HM Government has spent more on the railways since privatisation than it spent in the SIXTY YEARS preceding privatisation.

If we'd spent the same money on BR we'd have the best railway in Europe.

As I said when I started this thread, I understand that suppliers need to buy forward, and need to hedge against possible future price rises. But natural gas prices have returned to pre-Ukraine invasion levels for nearly a year now so why aren't our gas bills back down to where they were?
Have you not answered your own question, if the suppliers have brought forward then until they have passed on the pre purchased gas at this price they cannot reduce there prices otherwise they would be selling at a loss. Petrol stations do the same, selling the fuel based on the cost of filling there tanks.
I might have done I suppose. Let's see in 12 months time. Although the energy companies didn't wait 12 months after the Ukraine invasion to put their prices up.
Nationalisation? If British Gas will be buying its gas in the autumn at today's price and planning to not pass that on to us then their morals are no better than Gazprom's. Perhaps nationalising is the only alternative with any thought for the consumer.

I read yesterday about the standby gas-fired stations that fire up at peak demand times. They are almost all foreign-owned, some by some very murky individuals, and can pretty much demand whatever price they like when they are needed. They also don't pay windfall taxes.

The whole energy industry is like the wild west the more I read about it. They do it to us because they can, with no conscience. Naked capitalism red in tooth and claw. What a world.
The way I understand it they are regulated by ofgem, not the FCA. It is like the Wild West. Things are changing but at a ridiculously slow pace as ever
The way I understand it they are regulated by ofgem
Toothless and probably populated with ex-Etonians like their mates who run the energy companies. The French wouldn't stand for it. There would be mass protests and riots. Sometimes we are far too passive for our own good in this country.