UK Faces Winter Gas Crunch
By Paul Homewood
From the Telegraph:
The UK faces a looming winter gas supply crunch after Centrica said it has been forced to shut down a key gas storage facility until next spring.
Centrica’s Rough site accounts for more than 70pc of the UK’s total gas storage capacity, and can provide about 10pc of peak winter gas demand. The facility, which was converted from a partially depleted gas field off the Yorkshire coast in the 1980s, has suffered ongoing issues and outages in recent months and will now close entirely for further tests.
A spokesman said Centrica is working to see whether it will be possible to return around a third of the capacity to operation by November, in time for colder months when gas demand by energy companies climbs.
Cecile Langevin, a senior analyst with Thomson Reuters, said that even if companies are able to draw from the storage site before next March or April, Rough will only be 34pc full because the injections of gas usually made during the summer will not be possible .
Wholesale gas prices for this winter rocketed over 10pc on the UK market following the news, reaching 47½p a therm, as traders reacted to the announcement. The price closed at 46.65p a therm, the highest winter price in a year.
Ed Cox, head of gas at price reporting firm Icis, said: “The extended outage could remove an important source of UK gas supply for the entire coming winter which is the period of peak demand. The UK may need to import more pipeline gas to cover the shortfall with the result that the UK wholesale price trades at a premium to neighbouring northwest European markets.
One more reason to regret the premature closure of coal power stations.