National Grid issues gas warning, asks market to pull out stops


National Grid has issued a Gas Deficit Warning, an indication that demand is likely to outstrip supply. It is a signal to suppliers to make more gas available.

The warning was issued this morning, and was followed by a request for locational gas supplies.

According to National Grid, demand is running about a third higher than the seasonal daily average.

Latest data (as of 12:05) forecasts today’s demand at 403.4 million cubic meters (mcm) with forecast flow at 384.6mcm and physical flow at 397.1mcm, indicating a slight imbalance remains, which is continuing to push up system prices.

Analysts suggest National Grid may need to cut supply to some industrial and commercial firms on interruptible contracts if the imbalance continues, but will likely manage to bring in sufficient supply by the end of the day.

Osborne: Shortage will increase calls for gas storage investment

Matt Osborne, principal risk manager at TPI Inenco, said the situation “may last a couple of days”.

He said the shortage highlights the UK’s lack of gas storage.

“We remain reliant on gas, and it is essential to store as much as possible – yet Rough, the largest flexible gas storage facility in the country, is closing. Our vulnerability becomes even more evident when we experience very cold conditions – as we are now – and the government will need a strong plan of action to compensate for the loss of Rough.”

Update: National Grid issued the following statement on Friday morning:

“The ‘Gas Deficit Warning’ issued yesterday was withdrawn at 4.45am this morning and we are currently not expecting to issue another today. The market has continued to respond over the last 24 hours and we have seen an increase of supplies into the network.

“As the extremely cold weather continues we expect to see high demand on the gas network, so we are continuing to monitor developments closely.

“Protecting customer supplies is always our first priority and we would like to reassure them that this high demand has not affected their domestic gas supplies”.

Related stories:

Energy risks and rewards: What will hit businesses in 2018

Centrica to close Rough, UK’s largest gas storage facility

Centrica confirms no injections at Rough for 2017/18

Centrica posts solid profits but Rough doubts remain

Gas and power prices hit two year highs over winter

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