The UK has received a major energy boost as a new gas field has been discovered under the North Sea off the coast of East Anglia. According to offshore exploration and production company IOG, the field, which has the backing of US billionaire Warren Buffet, produced its “first gas” earlier this week. The discovery could help the UK avoid the skyrocketing prices that are expected in the EU as Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to turn off the taps of the gas pipelines from Russia.
Worrying data from the Poland-Germany border appears to show that Moscow is suspending gas flowing through the Yamal-Europe pipeline.
The 2.500-mile-long pipe connects Russia with Poland and Germany, through Belarus.
According to the data, gas supplies fell to just 939,809 kilowatt-hours per hour (kWh/h) from around 11.5 million kWh/h.
IOG chair Fiona MacAulay said: “With heightened energy security risks across Europe and the continued urgency of the energy transition, there has never been a more important time to bring new UK gas resources onstream.
“This is especially true of IOG’s gas which has far lower carbon intensity than imports.”
Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), which represents the UK offshore industry, has also welcomed this new discovery.
OEUK argued that the new gas field showcased the crucial role that the UK Continental Shelf plays in providing energy security during a global energy crisis.
Low gas flows from Russia has created a massive global energy crisis, causing prices to skyrocket to about $360 (£276) per barrel of oil.
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Jenny Stanning, external relations manager at OEUK, said: “This new source of gas, from the UK’s own waters, boosts our energy security at time when the Ukraine crisis has reminded us of the urgency and importance of maintaining our own energy supplies.”
Since Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine, the UK, US, and EU joined forces to sanction Moscow’s oil and gas sector, which is a major chunk of its exports.
The EU is particularly vulnerable to Russia as the bloc depends on Putin for about 40 percent of their gas supply.
Last week Russia threatened to cut natural gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline as part of its response to sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine.
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Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said that the Kremlin had the right to take actions that “mirror” the penalties imposed on the Russian economy.
Europe’s reliance on Russian energy has been a key factor in efforts by the continent’s leaders to agree on how to respond to the invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile in the UK, which only depends on Russia for about 6 percent of its energy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is meeting with leaders of the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry to discuss how to free the UK of Russian gas.
The UK previously announced its plans to phase out Russian energy entirely by the end of 2022, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng confirmed.
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