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How big is the heating oil industry

Published on 16/10/2016
How big is Northern Ireland’s heating oil market? As far as I know there are no official figures but on the basis of some national energy statistics, it’s possible to make a reasonable guess.

Across the UK on average 1,970,000 tonnes of so called burning oil is consumed by households each year. Burning oil is the name given to kerosene or paraffin which is by far the main form of heating oil. It’s also called 28 second oil. Less commonly used for heating is 35 second oil which is better known as red diesel. In this short report, the focus is on kerosene.

The question is how much of the 1.97 million tonnes of kerosene is used here in Northern Ireland. There is no geographical breakdown on heating oil usage unfortunately but there are statistics on regional consumption of petroleum products. Under this heading comes kerosene, gas oil and LPG.

The figures show that on average Northern Ireland is responsible for just over a quarter of the UK’s domestic usage of petroleum products. Incidentally we consume more than Scotland and Wales combined. On the assumption that the split between the three fuels - kerosene, gas oil and LPG - is uniform across the UK, then it’s reasonable to conclude that Northern Ireland uses around 500,000 tonnes of kerosene each year.

That translates into 612 million litres which at a retail price of around 40 pence means that the heating oil industry here has an income close to a quarter a billion pounds year.

As ever if you have any comments, please let me know.

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