Winter gas supply not cause for 'immediate concern', Business Secretary confirms

18 September 2021, 19:05 | Updated: 18 September 2021, 19:21

Kwasi Kwarteng has been in talks with gas companies.
Kwasi Kwarteng has been in talks with gas companies. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Gas supplies for winter will not be a cause for "immediate concern", Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has confirmed.

Mr Kwarteng tweeted: "Today, I’ve held a series of individual meetings with senior executives from the energy industry to discuss the impact of high global gas prices.

"I was reassured that security of supply was not a cause for immediate concern within the industry."

The MP highlighted the fact that the UK has a range of gas supply sources with the capacity to "meet demand", therefore enabling the system to "operate reliably" in coming months.

He added that "protecting customers during a time of heightened global gas prices is an absolute priority".

Read more: Scramble to avoid food shortages: Government in crisis talks as gas prices soar

The Business Secretary also said he was confident energy security could be maintained while increasing the usage of renewables.

"Energy security is an absolute priority. We are confident supply can be maintained," he explained.

"Our largest single source of gas is from domestic production, and the vast majority of imports come from reliable suppliers such as Norway. We are not dependent on Russian oil and gas.

Read more: 'Prepare for the worst': Maajid Nawaz's warning amid concerns of shortages and Covid

"However, our exposure to volatile global gas prices underscores the importance of our plan to build a strong, home-grown renewable energy sector to further reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

"Renewable energy has quadrupled since 2010, but there is more to do."

Mr Kwarteng's announcement comes after ongoing meetings with Ofgem, Centrica, National Grid, Energy UK, Octopus, Ovo, SSE, EDF, ScottishPower, Shell Energy, E.ON, Bulb and SGN on Saturday.

His intentions were to put plans in place to tackle potential upcoming issues with gas supply.

Moving forward, Mr Kwarteng will meet industry regulator Ofgem again before organising a roundtable with industry leaders on Monday to "manage the wider implications of the global gas price increase".

The politician said he intended to "remain in constant contact" with others across the government as well, to "manage the wider implications of the global gas price increase".

High global demand, maintenance issues and lower solar and wind energy output are the reasons behind the increased costs, which could see bills continue to soar in the winter months.

It has also meant that much of the UK's commercial production of CO2 has been force to stop, which could consequently have an impact on the production and transport of foods such as meat and bread.