About a month ago I posted about the UK's gas supplies, and whether we'd run low this winter. Well, the good news is that January has been much milder than December was, allowing the withdrawals from UK gas storage to slow, and even for some gas to be injected for a short while, as can be seen from the graphs below for long, medium and short range storage:
As you can see, medium range stocks are now around the level they were a year ago, but long and short range stocks are still lower.
As I mentioned in my earlier post, there have often been incidents during past winters that have affected the gas supply, and this year is no exception. A gas processing plant that only returned to almost full capacity on 6th Jan 2011 after technical problems again ran into trouble on on 20th Jan. And the latest development is that Norwegian company Statoil has reduced output from the large Troll gas field while "planned short-term repair work" is carried out, which apparently should take less than a week. However, this has already significantly reduced gas supply to the UK through the Langeled pipeline, from the usual 70 mcm/day to under 40 at the time of writing. This comes during a slightly colder week in the UK, so is likely to result in gas storage being depleted further still.
Now we've had a mild-ish January, the situation is not as dire as it looked at the end of December 2010, but we're not out of the woods yet. Hopefully the companies responsible for managing our gas supply and storage, namely National Grid and Centrica, will act to ensure that a safe level of gas stocks is maintained through until the end of March, when hopefully it will be much warmer.