Analysing The Political Economy

UK Gas And Electricity Exports to Europe Reach Record High

We are in the midst of a cost of living crisis, largely as a result of a shortage of energy – right. And as Russia continues to threaten Europe and strangle supplies, the price of natural gas is rocketing – right. And there’s no storage capacity – but at least some countries in Europe are building more – right. Wrong. UK gas and electricity exports have just reached a new record.

There’s no shortage of natural gas. In fact, as The Economic Times has just reported, Britain, in particular, is in the midst of a gas glut. We’ve got so much of it – that today it is reported that Britain has exported record amounts of gas to Europe so far this year.

The Times reports that – “Electricity exports also have surged to unprecedented highs in recent weeks after an unexpected glut of gas pushed down short-term gas prices and resulted in gas-fired power plants generating more for export.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused a jump in gas prices and left the Continent scrambling for extra shipments of liquefied natural gas to replace Russian pipeline supplies. However, mainland Europe has insufficient LNG import terminals, so cargoes have arrived at terminals in Britain and then been exported to Europe by pipeline.”

The Times goes on to report that Icis, the price reporting agency, calculated that Britain had sent net exports of 4.8 billion cubic metres to Europe so far this year — the highest on its records going back to 2012. In eight of the previous ten years, Britain was a net importer.

Britain has become a key landing point for LNG for the whole Continent, with its two interconnector pipelines exporting at their maximum to push that supply to markets in Europe,” Thomas Rodgers of Icis said.

While Britain has lots of LNG access, it has relatively small seasonal storage to absorb it. So it’s important that this supply reaches mainland Europe storage sites, as these stored volumes may need to be drawn back to Britain this winter when heating demand starts to kick in.”

Natural gas prices in Britain have now plunged well below European levels, reducing the costs of gas-fired power generation. However, industry experts have warned that the drop in near-term UK energy prices is unlikely to bring much respite for consumers because most energy companies buy gas and electricity well in advance and these prices remain high.

The cost of living crisis has seen the two main political parties punching it out publicly over whether a windfall tax on the energy companies who have made record profits from this situation should be applied.




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