Why is there a gas shortage – and where does the UK get its gas from?

Households across the UK are threatened by the prospect of a sharp increase in their energy bills – raising concerns that many people could be plunged into fuel poverty.

In recent months, there’s been a Europe-wide energy crisis with a number of different factors at work – including the pandemic and geopolitical tensions in eastern Europe.

So why exactly is there a gas shortage, and why now?

READ MORE: How does the energy price cap work? What Ofgem’s price cap means for you as bills soar

Why is there a gas shortage?

There are a number of reasons why there’s been a gas shortage in recent months. This shortage has left consumers across Europe facing higher energy bills.

One factor is the surge in demand after the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, with economies reopening and needing more energy after lockdown.

Also, the winter of 2021 was a cold one around the world – which again saw countries eat into gas stocks – while relatively calm winds reduced wind power.

More recently, rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine have also impacted gas prices. There are concerns that a conflict between the two could disrupt gas supplies to Europe.

While the United States has been in talks with other gas producers to replace Russian gas if supplies were halted, it is not clear how far these supplies could fill the gap.

Britain is particularly vulnerable to swings in wholesale gas prices as it has less gas storage space than other countries. The Rough storage facility, in the North Sea, was closed in 2017.

Where does the UK get its gas from?

Britain gets around half of its gas from the North Sea. However, North Sea gas output has fallen over the last couple of decades.

Some gas is transported via long-distance pipelines from Norway, while Britain also sources liquefied natural gas from countries such as Qatar, Russia and the United States.

Stay abreast of the latest on days out, nights out, shopping and more with our Daily What’s On Email updates

Leave a Comment