Government ‘confident’ winter gas supply won’t be affected by global demand surge

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Business Secretary Quasi Quarteng claimed there was “no cause for immediate concern” over gas supplies after holding urgent talks with industry leaders.

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The cabinet minister downplayed the possibility of a winter emergency due to rising wholesale prices and claimed Britain had more than enough capacity to meet demand.

After meeting with senior executives to discuss the impact of record gas prices, he took to Twitter to allay fears about the rise in fuel bills and the impact on other industries.


“I was reassured that the security of supplies was not a cause for immediate concern within the industry,” he tweeted.

“The UK benefits from a variety of gas supply sources, with enough capacity to meet demand. The UK gas system continues to operate reliably and we do not expect a supply emergency this winter “

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Natural gas prices are at record highs as countries around the world begin to recover from the COVID pandemic.

High energy prices have also been linked to maintenance issues at some gas sites, a major power cable linking France to a fire in Kent, low gas supplies from Russia and Norway, outages at some nuclear stations, and shortages of solar and wind power. lower level generation.

Rising prices have already forced the closure of two fertilizer plants in Teesside and Cheshire. This in turn has created a shortage of carbon dioxide, which can severely affect the supply of meat and carbonated beverages.

One of the UK’s largest poultry suppliers said CO2 problems combined with a staff shortage would compromise its supply of turkeys. “Christmas will be cancelled,” warned Ranjit Singh Bopran, owner of Bernard Mathews and 2 Sisters Food Group.

Skyrocketing gas prices has also led to the closure of two smaller energy companies — Utility Point and People’s Energy — after locking customers on fixed-rate tariffs that were no longer sustainable for the firms.

In addition to the increase in prices in October, a 60 percent increase in wholesale energy prices will increase annual gas and electricity bills by £280 next year.

Experts say rising energy bills coupled with both the end of furloughs and universal credit top-up risks are posing a crisis of living standards this autumn.

Mr Quarteng said protecting customers from hefty prices was “an absolute priority”.

“Energy price cap exists to protect millions of customers,” he tweeted. “Initiatives like warm home discounts, winter fuel payments and cold weather payments will help further.”

He said he is confident that energy security can be maintained by increasing the use of renewable energy.

Mr. Kvarteng said: “Our biggest single source of gas is from domestic production, and most of the imports come from reliable suppliers such as Norway. We are not dependent on Russia’s oil and gas.

“However, our exposure to volatile global gas prices underscores the importance of our plan to build a strong, domestic renewable energy sector to further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Renewable energy has quadrupled since 2010. But much remains to be done.”

The minister said he would meet industry regulator Offgame again on Sunday before holding a roundtable with industry leaders on Monday to “manage the wide-ranging effects of global gas price hikes”.


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