The UK’s emergency plan for the energy crisis is considering shutting down gas pipelines connecting the British Isles with Belgium and the Netherlands. This action will be taken if the country has supply problems. A future decision would complicate the European unity strategy, in the event that Russia ends up cutting off all gas shipments to Europe.
Europe will, sooner or later, put its contingency plans on the line in the face of gas shortages, if tension with Russia is not magically reduced. As NATO leaders organize themselves to form a common front against Moscow, the UK agrees to its own contingency plan, without coordinating with the rest of the countries.
All European countries are considering their own emergency scenarios of rationing supplies, at various advanced stages; but London will shut down gas pipelines connecting the continent to Belgium and the Netherlands, when the UK is minimally affectedwith progress financial times, in early warning. The British plan includes four emergency phases.
This measure raises criticism as it directly threatens international cooperation. Several European gas companies have asked Johnson’s government to cooperate with Brussels to improve resources. European gas employers suggest the cut will be counterproductive for the UK, if supply problems persist.
The very characteristics of the UK mean that it has a strong dependence, above all, on gas. It has very limited gas storage capacity, including liquefied gas exports. Indeed, during the summer months, Britain becomes a net exporter, when domestic demand is low, supplying the continent. Since March, communications with Belgium and the Netherlands have been operating at full capacity with a daily supply of 75 million cubic meters of gas to the continent, due to the need to increase reserves for the winter.
However, this winter the UK was saved by supply problems thanks to imports from the Old Continent. These imports accounted for up to 25% of the total. The European gas business warns that the country will face supply problems if there is a harsh winter.
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