Why is there a gas shortage?
A surge in gas prices has prompted fears of hard times ahead - but how bad could it get?
Getty ImagesA surge in gas prices has seen UK energy suppliers go broke and the prospect of rising household bills.It's prompted headlines warning of shortages and a "winter of discontent".Does the UK face a gas shortage this winter?Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said it was alarmist and
misguided to start talking about gas shortages."There is no question of the lights going out, of people being unable to heat their homes. There will be no three-day working week, or a throwback to the 1970s," he said.The government said the UK has a "diverse and secure" range of suppliers. Norway in particular is increasing its exports from October.
However, demand for gas is rising across Europe, and some fear the UK could be physically - and perhaps politically - at the back of the queue.What's more, the UK has scant storage facilities - it's been increasingly operating a "just-in-time model". headtopics.com
The government stresses it's "not complacent".And, if needed, it does have the power to impose emergency measures, such as ordering big industrial customers to temporarily stop using gas.But the biggest factor - the weather - is beyond its control. Our best hope for avoiding problems is a mild, if breezy - and wind power-friendly - winter.
Where does UK gas come from?The UK has been a big producer of gas since the mid-1960s - but output has fallen since 2000 and usage continues to rise.We now import more than half our gas - much of it from Norway, and a considerable amount from the Netherlands and Belgium.
Liquid natural gas (LNG), transported by ship from the likes of Qatar, has increasingly been in demand in the UK, but there's competition for supplies from the likes of China.Russia been accused of restricting supply for political reasons (it wants to build a controversial pipeline across the Baltic sea). But this would probably not have a big effect on the UK as it supplies less than 5% of our gas.
Why is there a gas shortage?A perfect energy storm has been brewing during 2021.A cold winter around the world last year sent gas demand rising, depleting stores.Those reserves would normally be replenished over the summer. But output dropped because many major producers were catching up with maintenance postponed during lockdowns. headtopics.com
Meanwhile, calm weather reduced the amount of electricity generated by wind power.As a result, wholesale gas prices have more than quadrupled over the last year.The UK has been badly hit because it's one of Europe's biggest users of natural gas - 85% of homes use gas central heating, and it also generates a third of our electricity.
Why are gas prices rising and what if my supplier goes bust?What about my bills?Even without a big freeze, bills are heading up. October's increase in the fuel cap - the maximum customers can be charged - will mean many annual household fuel bills rising by £135 or more.
Most big domestic suppliers buy their gas months in advance - so they have yet to pass on the price rises of the past few months.As they are scarcely making a profit on gas, it's likely the energy "cap" will rise again in April.There could be relief if the the squeeze on gas supplies eases. But economists say wholesale prices are unlikely to drop before storage facilities fill up again - and that's not likely until spring.
Are gas prices rising in Europe?The rise in global wholesale gas prices has been felt across Europe.Some suggest Brexit has meant the UK is at a disadvantage when it comes to getting the best deal.When it was in the EU, the UK was part of the Internal Energy Market which can enable countries to access electricity more smoothly and at lower cost. headtopics.com
However, the way gas is traded has been largely unaffected, which means leaving the EU has not had a significant impact.Countries that rely heavily on imported gas, such as Italy and Spain, have been particularly hard hit. Their governments have directly cut prices and raised taxes on energy company profits respectively.
The price cap has meant the UK's gas bills have until now been typically lower than the EU average.But the rise in prices comes on top of other economic problems such as labour shortages and increasing food prices, adding up to an unwelcome rise in the cost of living.
For this winter, stocking up on jumpers may be the cheapest option. Read more: BBC News (UK) »
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'Russia been accused of restricting supply for political reasons (it wants to build a controversial pipeline across the Baltic sea).' [sic] Accused by the US wishing to sell LNG + Ukraine which took hostage gas transit for Western Europe for their blackmail in 2009? NS2 finished Where does the BBC get its news and is it facing a intelligence shortage? Find out in tomorrow's headlines
Human living in the North should really be getting fatter. Total failure in government. How can we be on 2021 and be having problems like it's the 70s? 12 years the Tories have been in power, everything is worse. Kwasi Kwarteng said in parliament that over 50% of our gas comes from our continental shelf around Britain so way are we not getting 100% from it an then we wouldn't need gas from the EU and our gas bills would be lower.
Where is the Russian pipeline to Europe? Where is the Russian petrol? Are you serious? We do not pay a license fee for you to stir up trouble where there possibly isn’t any. Don’t be so irresponsible,we all know you’re left but you needn’t go this far!!! Here we go another scare story from the BBC ! It due to domestic production being abandoned parts of the political circle thinking there promoting “Green” policy so UK becomes reliant on GAS imports from Russia
Good luck, electric car owners! There isn’t! Give the shortage agenda a rest, stop making shit up! More scaremongering from the scumbbc
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You guys don’t have gas and petrol? Hectic. Please stop these type of headlines, we've had enough of fear induced hoarding Another media headline to try n scare people 😴 Because we have closed our coal fuel power stations before we have got a renewable option up and running properly because the climate crisis has been 8gnored for 30 years.
Because the UK isn’t drilling for its own. Scaremongering to the highest degree, 1st petrol now gas, what next oxygen Brexit FFS. More militant, jihadist, radical Woke leftardation hysteria and propaganda 🤣 Queue mass panic buying on electrical heaters 🙄
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Loss of fart? Question: why is the BBC scaremongering? Don't start panic about another shortage ffs. Oles management of man united is effecting the line ? I don't think there is a shortage is there? Just high prices. Yet again, BBC attempting to induce panic. Why is the Twitter algorithm not allowing me to share news on the gas shortage? This is like when it was actively repressing search on the global forest fire crisis.
I think that guy needs to see someone sharpish - it's 20-odd degrees out there, not sure he needs that many layers. Good job we permitted fracking to get at our vast gas reserves. Because we didn't eat the rich when we had the chance.
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Wake up before it’s too late m. Learn the truth about the vaccines. It’s all on my Twitter page. ⚡️
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