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The UK government is considering ceasing gas supplies to mainland Europe in the coming months if the country faces severe gas shortages as the Russia-Ukraine war continues, the Financial Times has reported.
Under emergency measures, the National Grid could sever the two undersea interconnector gas pipelines to the Netherlands and Belgium.
This will be one of the early measures under the UK’s four-step emergency gas plan, which will also include ceasing supplies to large industries and appealing to reduce household gas consumption.
Since March 2022, the two gas interconnector pipes that connect the UK with Belgium and the Netherlands have been exporting 75 million cubic metres of gas per day to the European mainland, reaching their maximum capacity, the FT report added.
The UK government and National Grid, however, said that the country’s gas supply emergency was an ‘extremely unlikely’ scenario.
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A government spokesperson was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “We remain fully confident in our security of supply over winter, with the UK having one of the most reliable and diverse energy systems in the world.
“In the extremely unlikely event of a supply emergency, National Grid Gas have longstanding emergency procedures in place to protect the integrity of Britain’s gas network. Our priority is to continue working together with our EU partners and allies to end reliance on Russian oil and gas.”
In response to the gas cut off plan, European gas companies have warned the UK its plan could ‘backfire’ if the latter implements the emergency plan.
A spokesperson for the National Grid said: “The UK has never experienced a network gas supply emergency, and this scenario is extremely unlikely.
“The UK has been well supplied with gas throughout the year, with reliable supplies coming in from the UK’s North Sea resources and from Norway.”
The UK is planning to undertake stress-tests for its emergency gas shortage plan in September this year.
Earlier this month, Germany and the Netherlands started their emergency plans involving restarting coal plants following gas export cuts by Russia.