Market speculation, in my EVE? What's going on? Well, you can blame the starbase changes that were announced on 7 November. In that devblog, CCP Greyscale announced that the five POS fuel PI products and three ice products would be converted into "fuel blocks". Those fuel blocks would consume:
- 8x Coolant
- 4x Enriched Uranium
- 400x relevant racial Isotope
- 4x Mechanical Parts
- 20x Oxygen
- 1x Robotics
- 150x Heavy Water
- 150x Liquid Ozone
Turned out on the 7th, I didn't have a year any more. I had varying quantities that might or might not equal out to a year, and I wanted to make sure that I bought additional stocks of the missing bits as needed to get my strategic reserve back up.
My POS was used for research. Fitting a POS is like fitting a ship or a PI colony. There are POS modules that eat grid or CPU just like your ship fittings do. Weapons tend to eat grid. EWAR tends to eat CPU. POS shield hardeners eat both. Research POSs use Mobile Laboratories, which eat CPU... a lot of CPU. POSs consume all types of fuel in equal measure, except for Heavy Water and Liquid Ozone. The more grid your POS uses, the more LO it consumes. The more CPU your POS uses, the more Heavy Water. With me so far?
When Greyscale set the POS fuel consumption numbers, he set the Liquid Ozone and Heavy Water usage to near their maximum values. The good news is that every POS will now consume the same amount of these resources, making book-keeping easier. The bad news is that every POS will now consume the maximum amount of these resources. Therefore, my research POS strategic fuel reserve was OK in terms of Heavy Water, but in order to make up the difference, I was going to need more Liquid Ozone. A lot more.
However, my research POS is not the typical example. There are lots more armed POSes out there than there are research POSs, and most or all of those POSs didn't require all that much Heavy Water. That's why that commodity has been stuck at 20 ISK/unit for months or years, whereas most ice products are worth more. But now, there were going to be a lot of alliance and corp POS managers that were going to have to greatly increase their Heavy Water stocks.
Before and after this change, my medium faction POS consumed fuel in the following quantities, per month:
|Fuel Type||Before Crucible||After Crucible|
|Heavy Water (CPU)||34,272||37,800|
|Liquid Ozone (Grid)||8,064||37,800|
As you can see, things changed quite a bit. My PI products were generally in line. I needed a few more of some things for my reserve (like Oxygen), and less of others (Mechanical Parts, Robotics). But I was going to build up my ice products some. I'd need a small additional quantity of Heavy Water. But my strategic reserve of Liquid Ozone for my POS was about 100,000 units. After Crucible, I'll need almost 500,000 units: five times as much!
But for most POS operators, the opposite was true: they need four or five times as much Heavy Water.
And that's why you're seeing the spike in Heavy Water prices the last ten days or so. It's impacting Liquid Ozone too, but not nearly as much, since LO is used for other activities as well (notably, lighting cynosural fields). On the flipside, as the impact of this change starts to spread, you'll probably see Robotics prices fall a bit, since they won't be as universally useful.
Every time patch changes are announced, you see this sort of market speculation. And it's no different from Wall Street once it's announced: those that respond quickly make ISK, while those that miss the implications get the shaft...