No to Gas Storage

No to Gas Storage!

Britain will not build state owned gas storage to ensure energy supply as this would raise gas prices, unsettle gas the market and harm commercial investments, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said.
"In light of these challenges, the Government has decided not to pursue this option," it said on Thursday in a report on gas security.

Instead, it is considering asking gas producers to provide gas production figures ahead of the high winter demand period to assess the risk of a gas shortage, and improving communications with the Norwegian energy network operator.

Britain has a lower ratio of storage as a percentage of demand than France or Germany, prompting calls for more storage to be built to buffer against unexpected supply cuts like those caused by a Russia-Ukraine gas dispute two winters ago.

The country imports a large amount of gas from Norway, and a technical problem at a Norwegian gas field set off a gas balancing alert in Britain last winter when exceptionally cold weather sent demand soaring.

Other security measures under consideration include giving financial incentives to balance supply and demand in emergencies and possibly strengthening suppliers' obligations to provide gas for homes and small to medium sized businesses.

Sam Laidlaw, the chief executive of utility Centrica, said the government needed to back development of commercial gas storage facilities.

"The policy statement rightly recognises the success of the liberalised energy market in delivering the necessary investment in new infrastructure," Laidlaw said.

Centrica operates Rough, the largest gas storage facility in Britain, and is also investing in other storage projects.

4th April, 2010

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