Blast of Arctic weather to pile pressure on UK energy networks

Snow and ice warnings as gas demand rises by about 4 per cent since Friday

Unusually low temperatures are expected in the UK until Friday
Powered by automated translation

A blast of Arctic weather is set to increase the UK's demand for natural gas and test its energy networks in the final weeks of winter.

The Met Office warned of “cold and wintry” conditions across the country in the coming days.

Snow and ice warnings have been issued for large parts of the UK, including London, in the early part of the week, and unusually low temperatures are expected until Friday.

Wind power generation in the UK is expected to fall over the next three days, and temperatures in Scotland could be as much as 7°C below normal this week. The northern tier of the continent is also set to be unseasonably cold.

Timera Energy — which provides senior consulting expertise on value and risk in European gas and power markets — said in a note: “With a little under a month left of winter, the upside demand risk from a prolonged spell of cold weather is diminishing.

Europe looks set to end winter with over 50 per cent of gas in store even if March temperatures turn out below normal.”

According to data from the National Grid, the country's forecast gas demand has risen by about 4 per cent since Friday.

Power and gas prices remain relatively unaffected for now, as gas storage levels on the continent remain higher than usual. A pipeline problem at the weekend has also kept more of the fuel in Britain than expected.

The UK lacks large gas storage sites and relies instead on a steady flow from its North Sea fields, from Norway and from global plants for liquefied natural gas.

Gas exports from Britain to mainland Europe were halted at the weekend due to an equipment problem. This meant more fuel could remain in the country to meet higher demand during the cold snap — despite some facilities that deliver gas to the UK being affected by power cut.

Despite the disruption to gas exports, Europe's liquefied natural gas imports remain strong. The US is shipping a record amount of the fuel with the restart of the Freeport LNG plant in Texas.

Updated: March 06, 2023, 2:08 PM