Finally, the mainstream UK media has realised that there may be a problem with gas supplies, even though I wrote about it a few weeks ago. The Guardian says:
The amount of gas kept in storage in the UK is at its lowest level in five years for so early in the winter, according to National Grid.Thanks to PowerSwitch for the tip on the story.
Last month, was the coldest December since 1890, and the UK's gas storage facilities, which are among the smallest in Europe, are already more than half empty as they cope with record demand. Domestic supplies of gas have also been exported to the continent via the Interconnector under-sea pipeline, because prices are higher there than in the UK.
On a related note, the weather's been less cold in January so far, but on most days we have still been withdrawing gas from the long range storage at Rough, while reducing imports from their peak levels. A more cautious approach would be to keep imports up and stop withdrawing from storage, or better yet, inject gas back into storage. But that isn't the most profitable way of operating, so our gas security suffers instead.
Still, the milder weather has bought us a bit of time, but the risk to supplies still depends on what happens with the weather over the coming weeks.