Britain plans to cut gas supply to Europe amid emergency – Reuters

Flames rise from a domestic gas ring of a furnace in Durham, Britain, September 23, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

The UK is reportedly cutting gas supplies to Europe as part of a contingency plan drawn up to deal with the energy crisis that has emerged since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

Pipelines to the Netherlands and Belgium would be closed in the event of a severe supply shortage, the Financial Times first reported.

The four-step contingency plan would also include rationing gas to large industrial users and encouraging households to reduce their consumption, he added.

European gas companies have warned that any move to cut supplies to Europe will worsen the energy crisis on the continent and called on the UK to reconsider.

The International Energy Agency has said Europe must prepare immediately for the event that Russia halts all gas exports to the region this winter, and countries are now acting more urgently to wean themselves off the gas. country’s energy imports.

Germany and the Netherlands have already activated their own contingency plans, including restarting coal-fired power plants, and the EU passed new legislation this week that requires countries to refill their gas storage facilities. to at least 80% by November.

Russian energy giant Gazprom cut supply to Europe’s main gas pipeline, Nord Stream 1, by 60% this month, leading to limitations in Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Gazprom said technical problems with its Nord Stream pipeline, including with a gas compressor, are behind the supply disruption.

Russia has previously cut off gas to Poland, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland due to their refusal to pay in rubles. A dozen EU countries are now affected by gas supply cuts, Reuters reported.

European countries are looking to increase the use of renewable energy and are looking to the United States to supply larger volumes of expensive liquefied natural gas, or LNG, and to Norway and Azerbaijan for more piped gas.

Rob Jetten, the Netherlands’ climate minister, warned this week that a winter gas crisis in one European country could quickly spread across the continent.

“It’s great if individual member states are able to fill their gas tanks before 1 November, but if other countries aren’t able to reach 80% – and especially big countries like Germany – then you have to be aware that it will be a domino effect for all of Europe,” he told Politico.

Bart Jan Hoevers, chairman of the European Network of Gas Transmission System Operators, which counts Italy’s Snam and Belgium’s Fluxys among its members, urged the UK not to stop gas pipeline supplies to Europe in the event of a crisis.

“Because if it’s good for the continent in the summer, it’s also good for the UK in the winter,” he told the Financial Times. Analysts have noted that during the winter the UK receives up to 20-25% of its gas through its two-way gas pipeline interconnections with EU countries.

Hoevers said a gas emergency was “extremely unlikely”, but that “political arrangements” had to be in place “to know what we can expect from each other as neighboring countries in the event of a serious crisis”.