Reuters has reported that Britain has snubbed calls from the gas industry for an urgent review of the country’s gas storage capacity after a cold snap this month triggered warnings of supply shortages and gas prices spiked to their highest in at least a decade.
Operators of gas storage sites, industries reliant on gas and developers of new storage projects have been asking for an inquiry since November, following the closure of the Rough site that provided 7% of Britain’s gas storage capacity.
They met officials from the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on March 16 but the government declined to open an inquiry, saying market forces would ensure there was enough gas, according to two people who attended the meeting and a third who was briefed on the outcome.
The government has said the market must determine whether it makes sense to invest in new gas storage and if there are any supply shortages, prices will rise sufficiently to attract more gas from elsewhere.
“There is still a level of complacency in the government that despite recent events the best course of action is to just accept these price shocks,” Clive Moffatt of consultancy Moffatt Associates, who attended the meeting and represents several storage developers and industry associations, told Reuters.
A spokeswoman for BEIS said the meeting was not in response to any recent events and no inquiry into gas price and supply security was planned.
“We take gas security of supply seriously which is why we regularly and comprehensively test our assumptions and the latest evidence,” she said.
The surge in gas prices on March 1 came days after the government, which is under pressure to lower heating bills, introduced a law in parliament that would cap energy costs for 11 million households for up to five years.
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28th Mar 2018