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2 Mar, 2018 10:44

UK may run out of gas amid perfect storm of cold winter and supply issues

UK may run out of gas amid perfect storm of cold winter and supply issues

The British national power operator has warned that the UK may be facing a gas shortage as a result of the current cold snap triggering heightened demand for heating and electricity.

National Grid, which also operates a gas grid in the country, issued the warning after a sharp surge in UK gas prices, which have reportedly reached their highest levels in a decade.

Meanwhile, the recent wave of freezing weather, which has been brought to the UK by a blast of Arctic air, has created a pressing need for heating both households and businesses. Although the power operator said household supplies should not be affected, it is still trying to meet demand by limiting industrial use.

“Demand remains high, and weather conditions are still extreme in some parts of the UK, so we continue to monitor the market very closely. Protecting customer supplies is always our first priority. Domestic gas will not be affected,” the company said in the statement.

UK gas supplies became vulnerable amid troubles with North Sea pipelines and the country’s loss of the use of a giant gas field for storage purposes. Dutch contracts reportedly surged to the highest level in seven years. At the same time, British multinational utility Centrica announced a daylong outage at one of its gas storage facilities.

National Grid also said that it had never before required industrial customers to cut back and that while tight, supplies were sufficient, according to Bloomberg.

“It certainly shows the vulnerability of extreme events,” Nick Campbell, energy risk manager at Inspired Energy, told the agency. “Our only other form, LNG, is not flexible in the short term. It takes time to arrive from its destination, therefore the one thing you can guarantee is volatility.”

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