Are we running out of gas?

As temperatures plummet there is concern over energy supplies. The amount of gas in storage has been run down as homes turn up the heating.

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'Extreme' engineering centre for subsea technology

An "extreme" engineering centre will be built to help develop deep sea technology.

The £7 million Neptune National Centre will be created on the River Tyne in Newcastle.

The River Tyne in Newcastle, where the Neptune National Centre will be created Credit: John Giles/PA Archive

Unveiling the centre as as part of a new oil and gas strategy, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This cutting-edge new facility will help put our academic community and industry at the centre of subsea and offshore engineering research."

Newcastle University will help provide funds of try scheme as a centrepiece for economic revival.

Davey: Growth opportunities for gas and oil industry

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Energy Secretary Ed Davey said the oil and gas industry is a vital strategic resource.

"With our support for carbon capture and storage, for decommissioning and by encouraging increased collaboration across different energy sectors, especially offshore, there will also be new sustainable growth opportunities for the industry and the wider UK supply chain."

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Scotland welcomes UK's plans for gas and oil

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said he welcomed the UK Government view that there is a long-term future for the industry.

He said that the UK strategy highlighted oil and gas as an "enormous economic resource for decades to come.".

Scotland's Oil and Gas Strategy, developed in conjunction with industry, lays out a plan to help the industry go from strength to strength, and rising capital investment - predicting that investment should rise from £11.4 billion in 2012 to over £13 billion in 2013 - clearly demonstrates the confidence investors and the industry have in Scotland

The Scottish Government has already launched its industry led Oil and Gas strategy and is implementing a range of measures to support the industry in this time of major investment. We welcome the UK Government's commitment to work with the Scottish Government in implementing its strategy.

– Fergus Ewing, Scottish Energy Minister

Vince Cable: This is an 'expanding industry'

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

At an announcement on the UK's oil and gas strategy in Aberdeen today, Business Secretary Vince Cable is expected to say:

"I want us to consider what barriers are stopping British companies bidding for and winning work in the North Sea.

"This is an expanding industry.

"We can either help create more jobs and opportunities across the UK if we get this right, or see work going overseas if not."

Ministers to announce oil and gas strategy

The Government will today announce an oil and gas strategy that aims to secure thousands of jobs and billions of pounds of investment.

Buzzard oil field in the North Sea, 50 miles from Aberdeen's coastline Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Plans for "tax certainty", skills development and supply chain support will be discused by three secretaries of state in Aberdeen, the oil capital of Europe.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore and Energy Secretary Ed Davey will speak to business leaders about the strategy this morning.

Britain faces prospect of gas rationing

Britain faces the prospect of gas rationing for the first time
Britain faces the prospect of gas rationing for the first time Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Britain faces the prospect of gas rationing for the first time, experts have warned.

Energy expert Ann Robinson told the Independent: “If this dreadful weather continues for the next two or three weeks we should be very worried, because if we get into a position where we do run out of gas there is not a lot that can be done in the short term."

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Government: 'UK gas needs are being met'

The Government has denied the UK is on the brink of running out of gas following weeks of unusually cold weather.

It had been reported that there were only two days' worth of gas left in reserve as a result of the cold snap, with gas stocks 10% full, compared to 49% this time last year.

It has been reported that UK gas supplies have been drained by the recent cold snap. Credit: Press Association

But a Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) spokeswoman said: "Protracted cold weather increases demand but the UK gas market is responsive and our gas needs are continuing to be met.

"Gas storage would never be the sole source of gas meeting our needs, so it is misleading to talk purely about how many days' supply is in storage."

She said that while half of the nation's gas needs were supplied from the North Sea, there were also pipelines from Norway and elsewhere in Europe, shipments of liquefied natural gas and storage.

Cold snap leaves Britain's gas supplies 'drained'

The Times (£) is reporting that the recent cold snap has left Britain drained of nearly its gas supplies, sparking fears of a spike in energy prices.

Households have been forced to turn up their heating as the freezing weather continues, pushing the demand for gas to 20% higher than normal in March, the paper claims.

Last night gas stocks were just 10% full, compared to 49% this time last year, it said.

Cold snap leaves Britain's gas supplies 'drained'
Cold snap leaves Britain's gas supplies 'drained' Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Energy prices will soar if Britain is forced to make up the shortfall by importing more liquefied natural gas from elsewhere, an energy expert warned.He said that Britain would struggle to cope if a technical problem caused a North Sea gas field to shut down.

Andrew Horstead of the energy consultancy Utilyx told The Times: "There is immense pressure on the existing infrastructure."We are almost maxed out from imports through pipelines. The big concern is that there is very little flexibility left in the system."

It comes as the head of the energy giant SSE warned of the "very real risk" of the lights going out in Britain.

Read: Government underestimating 'risk of Britain's lights going out'

Government underestimating 'risk of Britain's lights going out'

The head of the energy giant SSE warned of the "very real risk" of the lights going out in Britain.

Ian Marchant said the Government was underestimating the problem, as he announced plans to cut back on power generation at five sites because the stations are either uneconomic or coming to the end of their lives.

It appears the Government is significantly underestimating the scale of the capacity crunch facing the UK in the next three years and there is a very real risk of the lights going out as a result.

He said the energy watchdog Ofgem had recently expressed real concern about the tightening of the UK's generation capacity margin that would follow expected plant closures in the next few years, predicting a 1:12 chance of the lights going out.

It is unlikely that the majority of the reductions in generation capacity and the delays to new investment we have announced today will have been included in this analysis, which highlights that the situation is likely to be even more critical than even they have predicted.

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