The government is carrying out an internal review of the UK’s gas security following the closure of the Rough storage facility in the North Sea, Claire Perry has revealed.
In a letter with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee, which has been conducting an inquiry into the UK’s post-Rough gas security, the energy and climate change minister writes that the department ordered further research following a workshop held in March 2018.
Centrica closed Rough, which was the UK’s biggest gas store, last year.
The ageing and loss-making facility required an estimated of £1 billion worth of refurbishment work, which was expected to take around five years to complete.
The research is focusing on the interactions between gas and the electricity systems during stress situations, like last winter’s “Beast from the East” cold snap, and the current status and outlook for gas supply flexibility.
Perry writes that the work on gas supply flexibility, which is designed to enhance understanding of market behaviour and the investment climate for gas supply infrastructure, is “well underway”.
And the department is commissioning external research on the interaction between gas and electricity systems, which is due to be delivered this summer.
Both pieces of work will feed into the annual security of supply report which the department lays before parliament, together with Ofgem.
The letter expresses the government’s confidence that the UK will retain current high levels of security now and in the future.
And it says that retaining the Rough facility would have cost gas consumers more in the long run than other mechanisms for ensuring security of supply, such as liquid natural gas terminals and interconnectors with the continent.