Cold snap bites into Britain's gas reserves
People turning up the heating to cope with freezing temperatures sent the gas market into a spin yesterday.
Trading prices for gas spiked by 7 per cent to 63.5p a therm and the amount in storage tumbled to a five-year low, prompting speculation from traders that Britain might have problems if the cold snap was prolonged.
When the cold snap began to bite a fortnight ago wholesale traders started withdrawing gas from Britain's only long-range storage facility, Rough, and supplies have sunk to 17 per cent below levels this time last year.
The Met Office forecasts that bitterly cold weather will continue in the north this month, keeping up pressure on storage to top-up supplies coming in from the North Sea and liquefied natural gas terminals. Jason Durden, energy trader at Energy Quote JHA, said: "If you do the numbers, storage will be empty some time in early February, if it stays this cold."
Britain's historically abundant North Sea supplies have dwindled to about 40 per cent of the UK's use, leaving the country more dependent on pipeline imports from Norway, the Netherlands and, to a lesser extent, Russia. Liquefied natural gas from Qatar and Algeria is shipped to ports.
Yesterday, demand reached 454 million cubic metres, 30 per cent higher than 1 December last year, while storage fell to 3.5 billion cubic metres, just over a week's supply.
Asked if the UK could run out of gas, Edward Cox, a gas analyst at ICIS Heren, said: "I don't see any prospect of that because we have so many various sources of supply."
South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
Lammily: Barbie-like doll hits Kickstarter fundraising target in a day
Belle Knox: How a porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
Oscar Pistorius trial: Neighbour feared South African athlete would use gun that killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to kill himself
Top 10 most expensive cities in the world: Singapore named costliest place to live – but what about London?
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Study suggests that 'gaydars' are real - at least for women
- 4 Man stabbed with Legend of Zelda Master Sword in serious condition
- 5 First clip of Outkast's Andre 3000 in Jimi Hendrix biopic All Is By My Side emerges
£1200 per month: Inspiring Interns: Our client is one of Europes leading mobi...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Founded in 2008 by two Chinese tech entre...
£12000 - £18000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client is a high-end niche t...
£22000 - £25000 per annum, Benefits: Subsidised gym membership, 25 days holiday...