Britain threatens to cut off gas to EU – FT
The European Union is facing more gas supply uncertainty, as Britain has threatened to cut off its gas flow to the continent should it face a severe shortage, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, a shut down of interconnector pipelines going from the UK to the Netherlands and Belgium would be among the early measures under an emergency plan, which could be triggered if the gas supply crisis deepens in the coming months. Other steps would include suspending deliveries to large industrial sites and appealing to households to consume less, the FT adds.
The EU is currently facing an energy crunch caused by its members placing sanctions on Russia, the bloc’s main energy provider. Germany and the Netherlands triggered emergency plans earlier this month, restarting coal plants and calling on industries to cut gas consumption after Russia reduced supplies.
The UK gets most of its natural gas from the North Sea and Norway, with less than 5% coming from Russia. Gas prices in the UK are affected, however, by fluctuations in the global markets.
The country has very little storage capacity and in the summer months, when demand is low, the excess is transported to mainland Europe. In the winter, however, the flows revert and the UK imports large amounts of gas from the continent, and shutting off interconnectors could backfire on London if prolonged shortages occur, the FT explains.
Britain’s plans risk undermining international cooperation on energy, with EU gas companies reportedly urging London to reconsider.
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