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Gas crisis worsens

With prices rocketing to £1.70p the market knows there is a problem.

On Monday 231 GWh were released from medium term storage and 496 GWh from Long Term Storage. This is actually a faster rate of release from Long Term Storage than is the maximum as defined by the National Grid. This equates to roughly 66 million cubic metres in the day.

This shows a particularly worrying trend as it appears that the system is having difficulty maintaining sufficient supplies for demand. Extrapolating from these figures and making the assumption that the reserves do not go below the safety level, this is only sustainable for 43 days. However, making the assumption that the 3 day rolling average of 604 GWh is applicable then this would allow 51 days. Neither of these figures, however, take us into the peak month for gas usage which is February.

I accept that about 10 mcm has been injected into the pipes, but it still remains that over 50 mcm extra was taken from storage. Demand is expected to grow by 2 mcm today and a further 6 mcm tomorrow. With the injection into the linepack the possibility of service interruption in the South West has faded. What the country needs is for the sun to shine a bit more otherwise the prognosis is not looking that healthy.

Clearly the market is has woken up to reality with prices going up a further 50p (per therm) to £1.70. I wish that the government would wake up over this issue.


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