Yesterday (January 7) the National Grid took the unprecedented step of issuing a second Gas Balancing Alert in one week, and opposition parties believe Britain has less than eight days of gas in reserve.

The National Grid has not issued a balancing order for four years, this week’s there’s a possibility of others being issued following the two.

The orders are issued to gas companies to make sure they fully open the valves on their pipes to meet increased demand.

McKinnon & Clarke, the UK’s largest independent energy consultancy, today called on the Government to take tough decisions and invest in the UK’s energy industry or face the reality of running low on energy.

With low gas reserves and record demand, the M&C’s energy analyst, David Hunter, said he was ‘concerned’ after Norway’s largest gas producer, Statoil, announced production is down at their Kroll A field – causing a dramatic fall in pipeline supplies to the UK from our biggest import source.

Mr Hunter said: “We are seeing unprecedented levels of demand for gas and as we’ve heard Norwegian pipeline imports have just fallen dramatically.

“This sent the gas system from surplus to deficit very quickly at a time of very high demand.

“Outages are not uncommon but occurring during a time of sustained record demand is making traders and industry very nervous.

“The UK has lagged behind other European countries in building gas storage capacity for winter, despite exporting gas to other countries when demand is lower.

“The reality is we are the ones who are relying on our European neighbours to keep our lights on and homes heated.”

Last night energy security minister, Lord Hunt, promised gas supplies to people’s homes would not fail.

Luke Walsh

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