Gas prices in the UK have skyrocketed to the highest levels in almost four months as strikes in Norway threaten to exacerbate an already crippling energy crisis. These strikes, which stem from a dispute between oil companies and offshore platform employees over wages, could wreak even more havoc in Europe even as Russia has significantly cut supplies to the continent.
The UK receives most of its important natural gas from Norway, and as a result, prices have spiked by 20 percent.
Meanwhile, in Europe, benchmark prices rose by 9.8 percent, as Norway’s oil and gas lobby warned that as a result of the strikes, approximately 13 percent of the country’s daily gas exports are at risk.
Three gas fields are set to be shut down as part of the strikes that begin tomorrow, while another three sites will be closed the following day.
The Norwegian Oil and Gas Association (NOG) calculates that the strikes could cut the country’s gas output by 292,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.
These strikes have aggravated fears that Europe may not have enough gas supplies to fill storage sites in time for winter, after which may be forced to rely on Russian energy exports.
Over the past few months, Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to cut supplies to European countries and companies that do not pay for Russian gas in Rubles, in a big to boost Moscow’s economy after it was hit with sanctions.
Given that much of the European Union is heavily dependent on Russian supplies, many countries, including Germany have bowed down to this threat and opened ruble accounts with Gazprombank.
Meanwhile, countries like Poland, Netherlands, Bulgaria and Finland refused to comply, and have since then seen their gas supplies cut.
READ MORE: UK braces for gas rationing in desperate bid to keeps lights on
As Putin continues to spark panic, the National Grid has warned that the UK may have to resort to gas rationing in an emergency bid to keep the lights on this winter.
Energy companies have been warned that National Grid may be left with no choice but to impose “involuntary” limits on supplies if other emergency measures don’t pay off.
These emergency measures include switching off machinery as one tactic that could help slash demand to sustainable levels.
However, the company may be forced to ration gas supplies if that doesn’t work.
While the National Grid has floated its own emergency measures, Westminster is mulling over plans to return to coal- the dirtiest fossil fuel in a bid to swerve blackouts this winter.
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