Gas supplies at five-year low for early January

National Grid reports that gas supplies have fallen dramatically after coldest December since 1890

Andy Rain/EPA

Tim Webb
Guardian

The amount of gas kept in storage in the UK is at its lowest level in five years for so early in the winter, according to National Grid.

Last month, was the coldest December since 1890, and the UK’s gas storage facilities, which are among the smallest in Europe, are already more than half empty as they cope with record demand. Domestic supplies of gas have also been exported to the continent via the Interconnector under-sea pipeline, because prices are higher there than in the UK.

As of Friday, the UK had enough gas in storage to meet in total about five and a half days’ consumption, given average winter temperatures, although storage facilities can release only a fraction of this each day. These facilities – mostly old gas fields such as Centrica’s Rough reservoir off the coast of Yorkshire – have in the past run down gradually during the winter and restocked over the spring and summer. But analysts said that suppliers have withdrawn stocks much earlier this year, with almost two months of the winter left to run.

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