Fears over UK gas shortage

A CHRONIC lack of gas storage is leaving the UK at risk of an energy shortage and higher gas bills if the cold snap continues, experts claimed after gas network operator National Grid warned about gas supplies.

Britain has only three weeks’ worth of gas in reserve, far less than its European neighbours like Germany, analysts at energy purchasing group McKinnon & Clarke (M&C) said.

High demand in the cold weather is pressuring supplies, lifting the need for imports and possibly sparking higher gas prices, they said.

M&C energy analyst David Hunter said: “This might give the energy companies the excuse they need to increase prices.”

On Monday, National Grid issued a Gas Balancing Alert, meaning major gas users such as power stations might need to cut consumption.

A Grid spokesman blamed the move on a one-off offshore supply problem, although the firm was monitoring the situation.

“There is enough supply to meet demand, but we are having a very cold spell of weather at the moment,” he said.

Faced with falling North Sea gas, the UK now gets more than half its gas via imports from continental Europe, Norway and the Middle East.