UK business chief downplays supply fears as gas prices soar

U.K. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng sought to assuage concerns on Saturday after a spike in wholesale gas prices left Britain worrying about gas and food shortages.

On Twitter, Kwarteng confirmed he would discuss the matter with energy suppliers on Saturday.

“Today, I’ll be speaking to chief executives of the UK’s largest energy suppliers + operators to discuss the global gas situation” he tweeted. “Britain has a diverse range of gas supply sources, with sufficient capacity to more than meet demand. We do not expect supply emergencies this winter.”

U.K. gas prices soared to all-time highs on Wednesday after a fire at the Interconnexion France-Angleterre (IFA) interconnector site in Sellinge cut off a key power link with France, stoking fears of an energy crunch. The Times then reported Friday night on worries of looming food shortages after the high gas prices shut down much of Britain’s commercial carbon dioxide production.

Global gas prices, too, are at their highest level in years. Some researchers have pointed to a surge in industrial production, as well as natural disasters and outages, as possible reasons for a tight global gas market.

“Energy security is an absolute priority,” Kwarteng added on Twitter, noting the government was “working closely” with Britain’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets, as well as gas operators, “to monitor supply and demand.”



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