"Global Natural Gas Crunch Roils Consumers and Industry"

"Rising demand for the fuel is sending electricity bills soaring and forcing factories to shut down."

"Much of the world is suddenly worried about running short of natural gas, and the impact is being felt in surging utility bills, shuttered factories and a rising desperation as winter approaches.

Across Asia, Europe and Latin America, consumers still reeling from the pandemic are finding energy costs soaring, driven higher by natural gas prices that have increased fourfold in some regions in recent months, hitting record highs this week. Makers of chemicals, steel, ceramics and other goods that require large amounts of energy are seeing their bottom lines squeezed and, in some cases, suspending operations.

In South Korea, electric rates just increased for the first time since 2013, and small businesses that struggled under months of strict pandemic rules are now fearing future price jumps. “It’s already hard for small businesses to survive,” said the Korea Federation of Micro Enterprise.

In Brazil, the worst drought in 90 years has depleted hydroelectric output, forcing power generators to import expensive natural gas. The government raised electricity prices by nearly 7 percent in September, after a nearly 8 percent increase in July."

Stanley Reed reports for the New York Times October 1, 2021.

Source: NYTimes, 10/04/2021