British energy regulator Ofgem has issued a warning that serious gas shortages could develop this winter.
The announcement, which could be viewed by the newspaper The Times, refers to “emergency measures” to ensure gas supplies and to continue to supply households with gas and electricity. To achieve this, the largest industrial consumers would first be asked to stop using gas in the event of problems temporarily.
Earlier in the day, the International Energy Agency had also stressed in a report that savings on gas consumption this winter will be crucial in the European Union to prevent the storage depots from becoming empty and shortages could occur.
The agency says that to keep gas stores sufficiently stocked until the end of the heating season, gas consumption must be reduced by 9 to 13 percent from the five-year average. So even if little liquefied natural gas arrived in the European Union, the stocks would remain 25 to 30 percent full.
But if gas consumption does not decrease and if there are no more gas deliveries from Russia from November, the level of stocks could fall below 5 percent in February if LNG supplies are low. “If storage drops to such levels, the risk of shortages during a possible late winter break increases,” the IEA said. On the other hand, if a lot of LNG is delivered, the stocks would drop to less than 20 percent.
The EU member states are already working on savings, which, according to the IEA, has already led to a record decrease in consumption of 10 percent this year. For next year, the IEA is counting on a further decrease in gas consumption in Europe by 4 percent. In industry, less gas is burned because factories have been shut down, and in the energy sector because more coal and oil are used for energy production.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sharp cut in gas supplies to Europe are causing significant damage to consumers, businesses and economies not only in Europe but also in emerging countries,” IEA Energy and Security Director Keisuke Sadamori said in the report. As a result, the agency expects the gas market to be very tight in 2023.