British Gas issues dire warning as UK has only nine days of gas left– while France has 103

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British Gas has warned that the UK has just nine days of gas supplies left, as it reopens a giant storage site ahead of this winter. This is abysmally low compared to the 89 days of supplies held in Germany and 103 days in France. To combat the Europe-wide fossil fuel energy crisis, Centrica, the parent company to the energy supplier, announced on Friday that it had reopened the gas site called Rough, in the North Sea, with 20 percent of its previous capacity. The site which lies beneath the North Sea off the Yorkshire coast, will be the UK’s largest gas storage site and will bolster the UK’s gas capacity by 50 percent.

The energy firm noted that the facility would allow for “cheaper gas” to be stored for the colder months and help “reduce or stabilise costs” for households.

However, they clarified that the site would not be “a silver bullet for energy security” but rather it will be a key component in “helping the UK this winter”.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has placed UK’s energy security at risk, with Ofgem recently announcing plans to impose three-hour long-planned power cuts, if there is a shortage this winter.

Speaking to, John Baldwin, the Managing Director of CNG Services, explained that a gas storage facility could play an important role in ensuring that the UK has enough supplies, while also reducing the amount that Britain pays for gas. 

He said: “It will take about five years to get Rough [a natural gas storage facility under the North Sea off the east coast of England] back to where it was before but it is a good idea if you do not have your own storage. So what you are supposed to do is buy gas when it is cheap, store it and use it when it is expensive in the winter.

“If Rough was there now, we could have filled it this summer when gas was relatively cheap, and then it would be there for during the winter when gas was very expensive.

“What we rely on doing, we rely on buying gas during the winter when it is very expensive. But we are competing with China. Since China’s only buying two percent of the gas it needs, it can afford to pay a lot more, but we are buying all of the gas.

“So we can’t necessarily afford to pay top dollar. It has never been a good idea to rely on LNG when you don’t have any gas storage, you need a lot of storage.”

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Over the past year, many EU countries, including Germany have used their gas storage facility to stockpile supplies, fearing a scenario where Vladimir Putin cuts off gas to the continent. Meanwhile, the UK will buy gas on the spot market this winter. 

Centrica Group Chief Executive, Chris O’Shea, said: “I am delighted that we have managed to return Rough to storage operations for this winter following a substantial investment in engineering modifications.

“Our long-term aim remains to turn the Rough field into the world’s biggest methane and hydrogen storage facility, bolstering the UK’s energy security, delivering a net zero electricity system by 2035, decarbonising the UK’s industrial clusters, such as the Humber region by 2040, and helping the UK economy by returning to being a net exporter of energy.

“In the short term, we think Rough can help our energy system by storing natural gas when there is a surplus and producing this gas when the country needs it during cold snaps and peak demand.

“Rough is not a silver bullet for energy security, but it is a key part of a range of steps which can be taken to help the UK this winter.”

Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps called the reopening “brilliant news”. He said: “This additional capacity strengthens UK energy security and means we can stand up to Putin’s manipulation of global gas supplies.”

The site closed in 2017 because Centrica decided it did not make sense to pay for costly repairs. The firm changed plans when gas prices soared and supplies from Russia to Europe fell amid the Ukraine war.

The National Grid had previously warned that — thanks to gas supply shortages exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — a series of three-hour power cuts might be necessary, with the goal of reducing total energy consumption by around five percent.

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