Kwasi Kwarteng spoke as natural gas prices jumped to historic highs in Europe, hitting a new all-time high of $1,900 per 1,000 cubic metres last Wednesday.
UK Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has told Sky News that there will be full energy supply in the country over the next few months despite growing wholesale gas prices across the globe.
When asked whether Britain would have uninterrupted gas supplies this winter, Kwarteng said: “I’m as certain as I could be”.
The business secretary added that “there are two elements here”, including “obviously the global [gas] price”, which Kwarteng said he “can’t predict, nobody can predict that”.
“But one thing I am responsible for is the resilience of the UK system and, in that, I’m very confident we will be resilient”, he stated.
Kwarteng also insisted the household energy price cap would remain in place in the UK, stressing that “it can’t be moved because it does offer consumers the protection we all need against very, very high upswings in the price”.
The remarks came after the business secretary underscored late last month that investment in renewable energy is the only long-term solution to the issue of high gas prices.
Last week, the price of gas futures in Europe broke a new record, exceeding $1,900 per 1,000 cubic metres, before falling by $740 and temporarily stabilising at about $1,198.
Gas remains critical to Britain’s energy supply as more than 22 million households are connected to the gas grid. In 2020, 38% of the country’s gas demand was used for residential heating, 29% for electricity generation, and 11% for industrial and commercial use.
UK Fuel Crisis
Separately, the UK is struggling with another energy crisis after several companies announced they were having problems with fuel supplies due to a shortage of tanker drivers, leading to panic buying of petrol and queuing in front of filling stations in London.
Earlier this month, about 200 UK soldiers began delivering petrol to the country’s filling stations as part of the government’s effort to resolve the fuel crisis. Fuel shortages are still in place in parts of the UK despite recent assurances from Treasury Chief Secretary Simon Clarke that the situation is “back under control”.
The Bloomberg news network has, meanwhile, reported that the already strained European gas markets might become even more volatile later this week, when cold weather is expected to increase demand for heating across the continent.
According to Bloomberg, a “spell of very cold weather could push markets into meltdown with record prices and increasing margin calls threatening to push some companies to the wall”.