Oil Price Makes Holyhead Ferry Go Slower
High global crude oil prices have forced the Holyhead Dun Laoghaire fast ferry service run by Stenaline to slow down.
Rising fuel costs have forced the company to change the timetable which will see the HSS (high speed ship) Stena Explorer increasing its crossing time of about 99 minutes by a further 15 minutes or so from July.
Stena had exprssed concern last year that should crude oil reach $100 a barrel it might be forced to close the service.
The company has however confirmed that for the moment there are no plans to withdraw the service.
Reducing the speed will mean less wind and water resistance, which in turn will cut the amount of fuel consumed.
The company has introduced fuel surcharges on its Irish Sea crossings, and the question will be what happens if and when oil prices rise further.
When Goldman Sachs has predicted that crude oil prices will rise to $200 per barrel possibly this year, there is a risk that the serice may be curtailed.
At a time when the Prime Minister Gordon Brown is meeting leaders of the major oil producers in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to urge more oil to be pumped, the pressure is on consumers of oil products, such as ferry operators.
A company spokesman declined to speculate on the possibility of the service being withdrawn in such a scenario.
Stena has a contract with Dun Laoghaire Harbour for using its HSS facilities which is due to expire in 2011, and is currently negotiating an extension.
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