Dire warning as UK could cut off gas supplies to Europe under emergency plan

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Shutting down the so-called interconnector pipelines to the Netherlands and Belgium could be an early emergency measure that could be taken. It could be part of a four stage plan which could also include rationing gas to industrial units and asking households to reduce consumption, according to The Financial Times.

The plan is due to be stress tested in September and the National Grid has said the exercise will take into account the threat from Russia.

However, European gas companies criticised the plan claiming that it would undermine international cooperation against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

They also warned that it could help make the energy crisis on the continent even worse.

Germany and the Netherlands have already triggered their own emergency plans after Russia reduced gas supplies to Europe.

Russian state owned firm Gazprom cut supplies by 60 percent through the Nord Stream pipeline earlier this month.

The move has sparked fears of a looming shortage.

European countries are working to refill storage sites in preparation for the winter when demand is higher.

It is a process that is threatened by a surge in demand for liquefied natural gas cargoes from Asia. 

Although the UK is less reliant on Russian gas than mainline Europe, the interconnector pipelines have a key role in balancing out supplies.

Britain has very little surplus storage capacity so excess supplies are sent to the continent when demand is low over the summer.

This includes liquefied natural gas imported on ships.

Bart Jan Hoevers, president of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas, told the Financial Times that the UK should “reconsider” stopping the move. 

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He said: “I would definitely recommend they [the UK] reconsider stopping the interconnection.

“Because while it is beneficial for the continent in the summer it is also beneficial for the UK in the winter.”

In a statement the Government said it would be “extremely unlikely” that a “supply emergency” could occur.

They said: “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.

“All countries have such plans and there is absolutely nothing to suggest that these emergency procedures would be needed now.

“Our priority is to continue working together with our EU partners and allies to end reliance on Russian oil and gas.”

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